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*Sigh*, well I guess we're stuck with the story of Bill Clinton being a rapist for the foreseeable future. Even though Monica Lewinsky made it absolutely clear that her affair with him was entirely consensual. As the editor here admits, it's a good counter to the entirely true and correct assertion that Republicans are waging a "War on Women."

A major milestone with the nuclear agreement with Iran has been reached. Iran now has too little enriched uranium on hand to make a bomb. This is, of course, something that NONE of the critics maintained was possible.

Texas is suffering a serious flooding problem. Senator Cruz very properly requests aid from the federal government. Political problem is that he opposed aid for Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. "It's a problem because it affects US!!! What's that? Well, you see, it wasn't a problem back it affected just, uh, y'know, you guys, because, er, well, um..."

One of the guests said that Politifact identified 29 false statements by Donald Trump, but no false statements by Hillary Clinton. The Fox News guy says: "I would call that media bias." Erm, I would call it accurate reporting. Trump HAS lied and made numerous inaccurate statements and Clinton has stuck pretty closely to the truth.

Horrible, horrible injustice! The police officers who shot and killed a 12-year old boy at point-blank range insist, against all comon sense and reason, they thought he posed a deadly, imminent threat to their lives.

G.W. Bush campaign/PR advisor Karl Rove recommends that Obama react to terroroism the way Bush reacted to 9-11. A truly awful idea.

Massive Methane gas leak opened up near Los Angeles on the 17th of December. Owners of the well can't figure out how to stop it. Usually, pouring heavy liquids down into the breach does it, but isn't doing anything this time. Methane is harmless to the environment when burned, but is a very potent greenhouse gas when it's not.

Clinton worded her accusation against Trump poorly (Rush Limbaugh took advantage of that to deny that Daesh (ISIS) has produced a video with Trump's statements on it), but her essential point, that Trump's hateful statements towards Muslims are inciting them to hate the US, is entirely sound. Yes, Trump IS helping the bad guys gain propaganda points.

Good! Congress finally shamed into helping First Responders of 9-11! Former comedian Jon Stewart of The Daily Show played a significant role in lobbying for the bill.

The thing is, presidential candidate Carly Fiorina is really, really good at the verbal equivalent of throwing sand into people's eyes. She's really good at misdirecting and confusing. And yeah, her observation about Planned Parenthood no longer accepting compensation is very easily explained and not at all mysterious.

And in the annals of failure, the "War on Drugs" has cost $1 trillion and has stretched on for 40 years and has accomplished nothing.

Very interesting to see that one quality Clinton excels at is toughness. Everybody sees her answering "the 3am call," dealing with it effectively and staying up untll it's been resolved.

David Neiwert is a long-time researcher into facism and says that while Trump may not be a "classic" fascist, he's close enough that we should be seriously concerned.

"A familiar script is returning to the House. Republicans may need to rely on Democratic votes to keep the government open. It turns out that John Boehner was never the problem. The issue remains that House Republicans are completely unable to govern."
What do ya mean "turns out"? It was always clear that Boehner wasn't driving the car of the House. Boehner's problem wasn't that he wouldn't make promises or that he was dishonest, it was that he was so weak and ineffectual, his promises didn't mean anything.

Fox News introduced an incredibly stupid idea, that children should rush a mass shooter. I'm sorry, but as a former military person (PN3, USN, 1991-2001), this is an utterly brain-dead notion that will result in nothing more than a greater number of deaths!
Yeesh! You people ever heard of World War I? Unarmored people rushing at machine guns? Yeah, that's about what this plan would accomplish.

The blogger makes an excellent point. At some level, the motivation of the specific mass shooter is irrelevant. What matters is the widespread availability of guns.

Good! This is exactly what needs to happen. We need to do everything we can to defund Daesh (ISIS) before we conclude that "boots on the ground" are needed.

Actually, Sen. Rubio's right about the no-fly list. it's a mess and there should have been a way to get people removed from it back when it was first instituted. The list should be seriously reformed. Of course, Obama's right, too. If someone is legitimately on the list, then yes, they shouldn't be allowed to buy guns. Another good point is that if the 14-year old list is such a terrible idea, why did it take until 2015 for Rubio to mention how awful it is?

The Center for Medical Progress apparently had people undercover, working for the National Abortion Federation. "Daleiden’s attorneys have argued that releasing the names would put supporters at risk of 'retaliation.'" Yes, I think Daleiden's attorneys are entirely correct. A bunch of criminals would be exposed and their careers ruined.

Interesting to see how the other side views things. They see laws on guns as useless, as bad guys don't follow the law. Of course, one of the major defining features of gun laws is that they keep guns out of the hands of bad guys in the first place.
Also interesting is the view that zygotes, fetuses and unborn babies have a status that's equal to someone who's been up and around and out of the womb for at least 20 years.

Woo hoo! Senate passes sometihng useful and necessary! A five-year transportation bill.

Senate passes a set of bills that will never become law because, hey, it's not like there's anything important or useful they could be doing with their time.

Heh! Good idea, make gun purchasers leap through same hoops that women seeking abortions have to go through.

Reports like this make me wonder if humanity will survive until 2100.

Ooooh Noooooes! "Prayer-shaming!" because Republicans offered "prayes and sympathy" in response to a mass shooting. No, the "shaming" was over the fact that prayers were all the GOP offered. Democrats were offering actual solutions.

Reactions to latest mass shooting. Cnn says that "a holiday party with about 80 guests had been underway in sdan Bernardino, CA, when two people armed with semiautomatic rifles and pistols walked in and sprayed the crowd with scores of bullets. Fourteen people died and 21 more were wounded. The names of the dead were released Thursday." Very interesting to see distinction in reaction by political party. Any evidence that the attack was a planned or oranized one? Any evidence of Daesh (ISIS) involvement? No. And, uh, no. Just because the shooters were American does not mean they weren't terrorists.

So Turkey appears to be directly supporting Daesh (ISIS) by purchasing their oil. And people wonder why I so strongly support changing from an oil-based economy to one of wind and solar.

Blogger goes through several ways in which his family saves on water without it impacting their standard of living. It's not at all difficult to cut down on excess water usage. We were concerned about that in the Navy, too. A ship on a voyage can only make so much fresh water, so low-flow appliances are good to have.

November                         back to top

Retailers who insisted that employees work during Thanksgiving experience disappointing sales.

The sheer and utter dishonesty of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on global warming is astonishing in its brazenness.

Did David Daleiden deliberately, consciously, with malice and forethought, intend for his highly edited videos of Planned Parenthood persons, for people at PP to be murdered? As the NY Daily News makes clear, this is hardly the beginning of the turmoil that the deceptively-edited videos have released. Daleiden should have expressed remorse quite some time ago. So, out of the three people that were killed in Colorado Springs in a Planned Parenthood clinic, the three of them, between them, had six children. Way to go, anti-choicers! Way to support that "pro-life" message!

Right-wingers say that Donald Trump's statements concerning "thousands and thousands of people cheering" the fall of the WTC were verified by a 17 November 2001 interview by high school senior Emily Acevedo. Acevedo is located by MTV and re-interviewed. Nope. What she saw was yer standard, basic gang violence that very clearly had nothing to do with anything outside the Paterson, NJ neighborhood.

Three dead people at the Planned Parenthood office after the terrorist act by the lone white male shooter. Is there any sort of bright side? Why, to the anti-choicers, of course there is!

Heh! Jeb makes a funny. "Echoing his brother, Bush added that, at least in his mind, there’s 'a difference between enhanced interrogation techniques and torture.'”
I would like to assure Jeb that the distinction between enhanced interrogation and torture is entirely imaginary>. In real life, there's no meaningful distinction.

The Blackfeet tribe received great news when the Obama Administration announced its plans to cancel an illegal oil drilling lease on their sacred land, called the Badger-Two Medicine area, near Glacier National Park in Montana.
Thirty years ago this sacred land was illegally leased for oil and gas development. Since then the Blackfeet tribe have built an active movement fueled by the collective outrage over the oil industry’s demands to drill such a treasured landscape. For more than 10,000 years this land has provided strength, subsistence and cultural identity for the Blackfeet, and today’s government action offers hope that future generations will be inspired by its beauty.

Agree wholeheartedly! Trump's indifference to someone getting beaten up in his presence makes him nothing less than Nazi-like. The fact that Republicans seem to be okay with it is doubly disturbing. Good to see that traditional media outlets are finally following the lead of the bloggers, who had Trump correctly pegged from the start.

It's very painful for me to say this, the words are sticking in my throat as I speak them, but Bill O'Reilly is absolutely correct. Yes, Donald Trump is responsible for what he says. A Captain can take advice from a Seaman, but the if the advice is stupid, then the Captain should know better than to take it. Rep. Michele Bachmann was stupid to take the word of some completely anonymous, non-expert lady that vaccines were harmful. Yes, the lady was obviously sincere, but it was Bachmann's responsibility to check out the lady's story and to not just go blabbing it out all over the place without checking it with people who, y'know, actually knew what they were talking about. Trump is 100% responsible for everything that goes out under his name!

Cool updates on Comet 67/P.

Hmm, I said I thought Trump tells us what he thinks is the truth, but his statement on Arabs in New Jersey celebrating the fall of the World Trade Center could possibly be a hazy recollection (A few Arabs on TV celebrated, but they were on the West Bank, in Palestinian territory) but more likely is a deliberate rile-up-the-yokels lie.

Kind of an interesting piece on Dr. Ben Carson. He apparently wasn't aware of police just coming up and shooting black people. I don't think he's lying about that, just that he lives in a very comfortable right-wing bubble of news and information. Of course, it doesn't help when he dismisses Black Lives Matter as silly and inconsequential. He bears a great deal of the blame for his lack of knowledge

Good heavens! People are actually passing around the video here as some sort of warning/lesson about toddler jihadis.

I've been saying for years that if we switch from carbon-based fossil fuels and use wind and solar, etc., instead, That we'd benefit economically. Well, here's the proof! This study estimates that, after we lose all of the fossil fuel-based jobs, we'd gain a million new jobs by 2030 and another million by 2050.

One of the problems with the Alison Lundergan Grimes campaign to replace Senator Mitch McConnell was precisely her failure to inform Kentuckians that Kynect and Obamacare are one and the same. In this case, both the Democratic candidate and Kentucky's right-wing media failed to inform citizens properly that, by voting for the Republican candidate for governor, they'd be signing a death warrant for Kynect.

Does electronic surveillance work to prevent attacks such as happened in Paris last Friday? Well, keep in mind that France's surveillance is much less restrained than it is in the US, so it's actually far from clear that more surveillance would have been any more effective. Also, hey, how's that ol' terrorist watchlist? Y'know, that thing that prevents people from getting onto airplanes? What good is it doing us? Wel-l-l-l, not a whole lot. Problem is, it has hundreds of thousands of names and the criteria for putting someone on it are so fuzzy (See Philip K. Dick's Minority Report and "pre-crime") that no one ever uses it. So, basically, it's just a huge use of computer resources to accomplish nothing.

Why does Daesh (ISIS) exist? Nothing terribly complicated about it.

France decides to express its feelings about the attack in Paris!

Daily Kos wondered aloud why on Earth anybody in the Democratic leadership thought people would watch a debate on Saturday night and, sure enough, it's apparent no one on my FB feed did. Neither did I, but according to TPM here, it was a very solid, substantive debate where everybody got their facts right and delved into serious issues.

Secretary of State Kerry proposes plan for Syria.

And yes, the Muslims of the world would prefer that we not think of the attackers in Paris as "Muslims," but as "Daesh" (IS, ISIS, ISIL), becaus it was a highly specific group that did this. Also, there's a great deal that can be done to dry up Daesh's finances.

The attack on Paris, an awful tragedy that should be commented on, memorialized and honored by the US or something that happens every day in other parts of the world? Obviously, it's both. Yes, Iraq & Syria suffer similar attacks all the time, but Iraqis and Syrians are no less human and no less deserving of being honored and memorialized. The attack brought to mind Mr. Rogers' advice, to “Look for the helpers,” there are always people trying to help and to mitigate and/or repair the damage. It also brought to mind the blogger Juan Cole's observation that even during the worst days of Lebanon's civil war, people still went to the beach. Then and during Iraq's civil war/insurgency during 2006 and 2007, when the violence reached a horrible peak, people continued to try and carry on a more-or-less normal existence.
Yes, the attack on Paris was awful and yes, the attacks elsewhere are equally horrible. The best we can all do is to carry on and try to do the best we all can.

Very happy ending to the child custody case where a judge decided that two lesbian parents were unfit to raise a child. After lots and lots of pushback, the judge realized that nobody supported him and backed down.

As a Republica economist says, the GOP has a real "data problem." Their economic predictions never seem to work out while Democratic policies appear to be quite successful, and this is on a per-year basis going all the way back to Jimmy Carter. They showed during their latest debate they had no answer for this.

Pretty laughable to see what people come up with as constituting some sort of "scandal." A woman mentioned by Obama as a girlfriend in his book was actually a composite character. We've never seen Obama's grades from Yale. Bill Ayers was a late catch in the campaign (Obama said he knew and worked with the fellow, but didn't know anything about Ayers' notorious past). I mean, seven years into the guy's term and is THIS all you've got?!?!?!?

Falsehoods from Republican candidates are quite serious and deserve real and sustained attention. It doesn't help when the NY Times plays the "both sides do it" game by stre-e-e-etching to include Hillary Clinton highly controversial "falsehoods" just to appear to be fair.

Hard to believe that someone could be this completely stupid and yes, I mean both Art Laffer for sounding like a moron and the interviewer for treating his words as though they were meaningful or backed up with any sort of evidence.

Now, keep in mind that this video, taken by a citizen (I do notice the police are making no attempt to stop the filmer, which is indeed a good thing!), is being featured by a foreign TV station and is thereby going out all over the world. What does a foreign citizen see? A swarm of police, brutally arresting people who were caught *gasp* jaywalking! Is this really the image of America that we want to see broadcast all over the world?!?!?!

Dr. Ben Carson says it doesn't matter that he's not an expert because he'll have good advisers. I have a major problem with that assurance here because G.W. Bush said exactly the same thing. Obama, OTOH, was one of the few senators who put in long hours at committee hearings, precisely so he could understand the issues. Seeing how the two administrations turned out, I much prefer a president who deeply understands the issues because that also means he'll understand the good from the bad advisers.

Yeah, this is pretty much my attitude, “Poppy Bush tells the truth, many years too late to matter.” It's great that the elder George Bush is speaking out, but it would have been far better had he done so about 15 years earlier. At this point, big whoop.

Very cool! President Obama rejects Keystone XL pipeline!

Now granted, when Senator Marco Rubio charged $10,000 for a family reunion to the Republican Party, he was getting an interest-free loan with no deadline to pay it back, not from taxpayers, but from Republican Party donors. But his comparison of his situation to Donald Trump's bankruptcies is an apples and oranges comparison. Trump was guilty of, at worst, poor business judgement, Rubio is guilty of corruption.

NPR ombudsman agrees that, as, y'know, the story on ExxonMobil concerns the survival of the human race that, y'know, maybe we ought to cover it (Exxon knew climate change was a real and serious problem back in the 70s and chose instead to cover it up).

Heh! Senator Barrasso is very, very gloomy about the future of the ACA, which he feels is about to collapse at any moment. "A year and a half ago, the Wyoming lawmaker was identified as the leader of a Senate 'working group' responsible for crafting a Republican alternative to the ACA. Here’s a question to ponder: which do you suppose will come first, the release of the Republican health-care reform plan, which has been in the works for over six years, or the 'collapse' of the Affordable Care Act?"

Silly piece on how Carly Fiorina is “redefining feminism,” if you of course completely ignore the fact that she's not nearly influential enough in feminist circles to redefine anything. Whatever she's “redefining,” it isn't feminism.

Ahmed Chalabi's dead. He certainly will not be missed, but I disagree with the suggestion that, without Chalabi, the invasion of Iraq would not have occurred. Bush came into office wanting to invade. Chalabi provided, at best, a little extra push. 

As is the case with in-person voter fraud (where having an ID card to vote would be necessary), the "evils" of Planned Parenthood as "revealed" by highly edited and misleading video tapes is largely nonexistent. Alabama tries to build a case against PP built on lies and gets smacked down.

Yeesh! Call the wa-a-ahhmbulance! Republicans sure have been whining and bawling about the CNBC debate. As Smerconish says, the debate was pretty much identical to what Fox News asks. It's great politics to bash the media, Carly Fiorina uses bashing to avoid answering questions to very good effect. Good for her, anyway, not so good for voters seeking information. History of right-wing misinformation, the latest GOP debate and how they don't dare allow any light in. Jeb Bush scolds Democrats in his new stump speech: "Frankly, the last thing they want is a Republican challenger who takes them out of their comfort zone of forced indignation and PC platitudes." Actually, the same blogger reproduced the questions from the Democratic debate. See if you can identify Democrats as people in a comfort zone who exchange platitudes. And Obama smacks them for being a bunch of whiners.

October                         back to top

So what were the exciting new developments from the latest data dump of 7,000 of Clinton's old emails? Hmm well, Blumenthal called Boehner a drunk...and...well yeah, that's about it.

The conventional wisdom is frequently wrong. In this case, the CW is that Jeb is toast. Is the CW wrong this time? Ehh, probably not. It might be completely correct this time.

Unfortunately, this is a common enough problem that there's a term for it. It's called "mission creep." Police were put into schools in response to school shootings and slowly developed into a disciplinary force. People find too many uses for something they happen to have on hand anyway.

The Democratic Third Way group thinks fairness is overrated. Actually, fairness is the key to winning electoral victories for Democrats.

Wow! And I don't mean that in a good way. Carly Fiorina opposes the Fair Labor Standards Act (passed in 1938 and established the minimum wae and maximum hours per week). She doesn't just want to go back to the 1950s, she wants to go back to at least the Great Depression, pre-FDR era. Y'know, there's a reason that we consider Franklin D. Roosevelt to be one of America's great heroes.

Governor Bobby Jindal is absolutely convinced that his economic stewardship has been great for Louisiana. Actually, Louisiana is in horrible economic shape, thanks to Jindal's massively incompetent stewardship.

Kind of disturbing that the science deniers subpoenaed documents that scientists were freely handing over anyway. They seem to be determined to detect some sort of scandal here. For a long time, people who don't believe in global warming have claimed that the warming was pausing, government wrote a paper saying "No, it really isn't" and so now they're investigating the government.

So Trey Gowdy, who runs the Benghazi Committee, says he preferred the closed-door questionings of targets of the probe. How did the Democrats feel about the other closed-door meetings that took place earlier? Mmm, yeah, they didn't like them so much, describing the information coming from the other side "as a series of 'selective leaks of inaccurate and incomplete information' amounting to a political assault.

There are reporters who consider Paul Ryan a budget wonk. Unfortunately, they don't have the vaguest clue as to what they're talking about.

This piece paints a very disturbing picture, especially in the very last paragraph, of a political movement that really doesn't believe in the right to vote. Problem is, in the 1930s, people seriously argued that dictatorships were more efficient than democracies, but the US proved that democracies get "buy-in" on decisions and that people step up and "own" decisions more if they feel they took part in making them.

Collection of social media clips on the effects of monster storm Hurricane Patricia. Wind speed was 322 km/h, that's enough to get an airplane up into the air. Good to hear that damage was less than expected.

Example A on why nepotism is a very bad thing. Yeah, Tim Russert was a highly respected journalist. His son? Ehhh, not so much and for good reason. Seriously, Li'l Luke should never have been promoted up to any sort of media job and should have gone into some field where has talents (whatever they might be) would actually be appreciated.

Every now and then, I'm tempted to feel the slightest twinge of sympathy for Speaker Boehner having to deal with such extreme radicals in his caucus, then he commits an unforced error like this. "Hey, even though all of the outstanding questions about Planned Parenthood have long since been answered, let's investigate them again anyway!"

Republican House Benghazi Committee interviews Hillary Clinton. At this point, the Committee is helping Clinton far more than they're helping Republicans! So, after 11 grueling hours of testimony, what did we learn? Erm, not sure we learned much of anything. They asked the same old questions, she gave the same old answers. As far as Republican reaction to the hearing goes, this tweet stood out:
"Outside GOP cloakroom tonight many Rs subdued as they discussed BenghaziCommitte. No celebrating. Priv say Clinton formidable."
Uh, yeah. Why on earth would they be celebrating? Everybody now sees Committee as partisan waste of time and money. Seriously, shut the Committee down!

Whoa! KIC 8462852 is a "mere" 1500 light years away (Our galaxy is around 100,000 light years wide and 1000 light years thick) but might very well have living being-made awesomely massive objects around it. And yup, we're already pointing some really cool observational equipment towards it.

Columnist is correct. It's long past time to dissolve the Benghazi Committee. The Committee interviewed Clinton's former aide Huma Abedin. As she didn't play any direct part in the Benghazi incident, it's difficult to explain the interview except as a partisan fishing expedition. Republicans on the Benghazi Committee didn't want to release Cheryl Mills' testimony because it made Hillary Clinton look good, so Democrats went ahead and released it anyway.

Heh! "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" are now required by the State of California to, get this. NOT LIE and to tell customers/patients honestly that they don't have any medically licensed doctors or nurses. Christians who staff these centers are beside themselves with rage.

1500 military analysts and billions of dollars in surveillance equipment in Tampa, FL alone and yet, our military keeps getting caught flatfooted, keeps getting taken by surprise.

Alabama 1. has a Voter ID law that requires a driver's license to qualify as a voter, 2. the state is closing several DMV offices that issue driver's licenses, 3. those offices are largely in heavily African-American voting districts, and 4. there are about 250,000 voters who do not have a drivers license with which to vote. The governor really hates the idea that Alabama is being seen as suppressing the votes of African-Americans and claims he doesn't want Alabama to be George Wallace's state. Okay. I have a suggestion for him. Dump the Voter ID law. It's specifically designed to suppress minority voting and serves no other purpose.

The fact that the NY Times was a serious anti-HRC outlet and has now turned in favor of her marks the real collapse of the credibility of the Benghazi Committee.

"[Dr. Ben] Carson said Putin shares a deep historical tie with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, suggesting he became acquainted with them during their college days in Moscow when Putin was a young KGB operative.

"The Christian Broadcasting Network’s report referred to this as a 'little known historical fact.' The trouble is, it’s little known because it’s not a historical fact."
Not only do the ages of the three people not match up at all, there's no evidence that either Abbas or Khamenei ever studied in what was then the Soviet Union.

At the bottom of the piece, Ron Fournier stre-e-e-etches re-e-e-eally far to make an utterly absurd comparison. Using the "false equivalence" of saying that for Hillary Clinton to have a private email server is the same as Republicans running an "investigation" whose only purpose is politics. Ri-i-i-ight!

"Even before the floods, 20 percent of [South Carolina's] 8,300 bridges were rated structurally deficient or structurally obsolete" and "About 260 roads and 150 bridges remained closed Wednesday, many of them washed out, according to the Transportation Department."
Infrastructure doesn't maintain itself. States need to spend money on it. Low taxes are great in theory. Not so much in practice.

"Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz has in his possession right now, a computer hard drive that contains videos produced by David Daleiden, the head of the group that tried to entrap Planned Parenthood." Democrats are only permitted to view the footage by using a viewing room set up by the Chairman. Na-a-a-awww! Nothing suspicious about that at all! [/snark] Hmm, trying to think of an innocent, legitimate reason for this...hmm...nope. Can't think of any.

From the piece: "'Sandra Day O'Connor is no Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ginsburg gave us the legal architecture of women's place in America. O'Connor, the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court, gave us George W. Bush,' is how the New York Law Review put it recently. Vicious? Absolutely. Accurate? Sadly, yes.”
It's awful to summarize O'Connor's career by just that one decision, but that one decision undid so many others that, yeah, that's pretty much all that counts.

As I've said, the fact-checkers do good reporting, but please ignore their top-line conclusions as those conclusions are usually pretty worthless. MMFA: "After the Oregon shooting, Obama stated the facts: 'We know that states with the most gun laws tend to have the fewest gun deaths.' The Washington Post's fact checker couldn't debunk that true statement, so he just moved the goalposts instead:"

Woo hoo! Democrats play hardball on Benghazi Committee! They threaten to release a transcript of the committee's interview with Cheryl Mills, the former State Department Chief of Staff.

Liberals care about helping out in times like this because...well, we're liberals. Conservatives care about what immediately affects them, Jeb Bush cares about dementia because he's got a mother-in-law with it, Grover Norquist cares about Muslims because he's marred to one, Dick Cheney cares about gays being able to marry because he's got a gay daughter, etc. So I guess that as South Caroline just had a serious flood, we'll soon see South Carolina Congressmen suddenly discovering the virtues of helping out one's neighbors in times of need.

Gaah! I know, I know, it makes me look terrible to mourn the loss of carved rock when so many people are suffering, but it's really painful to hear about the loss or archaeological treasures!

Hmm. Jeb Bush says: “A child drowns in a pool and the impulse is to pass a law that puts fencing around pools.”
Having grown up in Massachusetts and New York in the 60s and 70s, where "attractive nuisance" laws concerning pools were in effect, I'm really hard-pressed to see how putting fences around pools is a bad or bothersome or oppressive thing. Yeah, this is a very poor argument to use against gun safety laws.

*Sigh*, the US can't effectively fight ISIS (ISIL, Daesh) as no one at home is ready to jump into the fight and as creating a moderate rebel force has been a bust. Iran, Turkey and now Russia have all jumped into the fight, but don't appear to really be concerned about ISIS. I'd be happy to suggest better options, but really don't see any. Then again, Russia kicks some serious Daesh/ISIS butt with strong airstrikes.

September                         back to top

Note, Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy sees the Benghazi Committee as a legitimate accomplishment of the Republican Congress, not because it’s uncovered relevant details about an act of terrorism, but because Hillary Clinton’s “numbers are dropping.” This, in his mind, is evidence of the GOP majority using its power effectively – by using a supposedly non-partisan investigatory vehicle to embarrass a Democrat with dubious allegations.

Cecile Richards, the head of Planned Parenthood testifies to Congress. Not surprisingly, it appears to be a complete witch hunt. How embarrassing was the Congressional hearing on Planned Parenthood today? It was so-o-o-o embarrassing...seriously, it was so embarrassing even anti-choicers were appalled at the amateurishness of it. The first clip here tells you what a complete PR disaster the GOP had gotten itself into. A Congressman asks about a statement that Richards made when the story of the undercover (and highly edited) videos first made headlines. She made a statement that she now doesn't stand behind. She's got a new story on that statement and she's sticking to it, so the fellow just haplessly repeats his question about four times, trying desperately to get an answer that he can use. Basic PR error Republicans made was to assume that everybody is in complete agreement with the idea that abortion is a terrible thing. They don't, so the hearings didn't convince anybody who wasn't already convinced.

Sigh! The Benghazi series of Congressional investigations has now gone on for even longer than the Watergate hearings did, making them the lengthiest hearings in American history.

Caught the first Daily Show with the new guy, Trevor Noah! Not bad! (Link is to a very early show of Noah's).

Cool announcement! Liquid (very salty), running (seasonally) water on Mars!

As a Facebook buddy of mine points out, the soon-to-be-departed Speaker Boehner gives a talk that is great and wonderful and true, but where was all this tough talk four years ago? Way too late in the day for Boehner to suddenly start talking tough.

Fiorina rolls right over Chuck Todd, who folds with barely a whimper.
On Fiorina's "Secretary to CEO" story, is it true? Wel-l-l-l...yeah, more or less. She worked as a secretary, did other jobs, decided she wanted to go into business, went to school for that and then went right into an executive position from there. So, ehhh, kind of. The story of Admiral Jeremy Boorda is a bit more classic. He worked his way up from Seaman to Petty Office First Class, went to Officer Candidate School and then worked his way up to Admiral. Difference is that he was in the same organization the whole time whereas Fiorina hopped around from company to company. Did she go from “secretary to CEO”? Yes, but not in the same company, so not quite like Seaman to Admiral.

Heh! "...there are basically three schools of thought when it comes to Boehner. The first is that he’s a terrible failure who’s been unable to lead or govern. The second is that he’s a terrible failure, but it’s not really his fault because the radicalization of Republican politics has made it impossible for anyone to be an effective Speaker."
I and our blogger don't find the third school at all convincing.
This piece strikes me as true as Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader, has commented that he always found Boehner to be personally honest. The problem wasn't that you couldn't get a promise out of Boehner, the problem was that he couldn't deliver. He couldn't assure anyone that his caucus would vote the way he wanted them to. His dream of being an effective legislator died very early in his first term as Speaker.

Update on Pluto's geology.

Heh! It's interesting to see that liberals have never regarded the Pope as THE absolute authority, so it's no big deal for us to say that we agree or disagree on a whole host of matters. But conservatives spent decades saying the Pope was the supreme authority and now they're picking and choosing what to honor and what to disregard! The blatant hypocrisy is easy to spot.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker drops out of the race, unions say "Hoo-yah!" and right-wingers get all huffy about it.

Ooh! Killer quote from the piece: "And I have to point out the obvious: If the board was wrong, the employees wrong, and the shareholders wrong—as Fiorina maintains—why in 10 years has she never been offered another public company to run?"

Wow! Since 1977, Exxon knew that climate change was real and they knew all of the essential details that we know today. They knowingly, consciously, with malice and forethought, denied it and covered it up.

Good! Very happy to hear this. The people who filmed the "sting" videos against Planned Parenthood who, supposedly, allegedly, have "nothing to hide," will NOT be permitted to "Plead the Fifth" and to therefore hide anything.

Yeah, Jeb is pretty much finished. The ad challenging his statement that his brother "kept us safe" really got under Jeb's skin and, of course, the more he focuses on that foolish statement, the worse things'll get for him. Hard to see any Republican being the clear winner. Trump probably won't make it, Fiorina clearly can't handle owning up to an error, Rubio didn't impress anyone in the last debate.

As someone who used his bicycle quite a bit for transportation in years past, I very much favor bike lanes like these. Bikes need to be separated from cars. Yes, that takes lots of time, effort and money, but currently, Philadelphia has lots of bike lanes, but I'm not sure I'd use them if I were riding today.

Carly Fiorina “dares” Democrats to tell us what Hillary Clinton has accomplished. No, she has no singular, “marquee” accomplishment to her name, but Democrats rose to the challenge and named quite a few.

See, Carly Fiorina didn't knowingly, consciously and deliberately lie when she described a scene in a tape that didn't actually exist. She honestly told us what she thought she saw because the anti-Planned Parenthood videos are very artfully constructed to give people false impressions. Fiorina complained that the anti-Planned Parenthood videos are widely described as manipulative and dishonest. Problem is, they ARE manipulative and dishonest! The group recently felt obliged to credit a photo of a stillborn infant (after simply swiping it) to a blog. They used the photo in a video, pretending that it came from them. A commenter from Media Matters notes that Fiorna is being held to extremely low standards of truthfulness. Doesn't help, of course, that one of the media outlets giving Fiorina a pass is the NY Times.

Good grief! They might charge the Ahmed Mohamed with making a "hoax bomb"?!?!?! But he wasn't trying to make a bomb, hoax or otherwise!!! He had not made any demands, he had not waved it around, there was no reason to think he had made a bomb except for his ethnicity! President Obama invites Ahmed to the White House. Bravo! Andrea Tantaros: "What the president did, Sandra, by elevating this story to national attention, is he basically got rid of 'if you see something, say something.'"
No, I think that, like with John Crawford, who got shot in a Wal-Mart last year, people in authority freaked out and hysterically overreacted. It's perfectly okay to suspect something and to carefully and diligently investigate a potential problem. It's NOT okay to freak out and go absolutely nuts.

Erm, no. The black tennis player was mistaken for a criminal, okay. Mistakes happen. There was NO justification whatsoever to arrest him by means of a flying tackle when the guy was just standing there!!!! The cop was obviously watching way too many TV shows!!!

Remember how the military exercise Jade Helm 15 was supposed to herald the end of democracy and the beginning of the Obama dictatorship? Yeah, that's over now.

Conservative intellectuals hate that Donald Trump is so popular, but they have only themselves to blame.

Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples throws in the towel and directs staff to go ahead and issue them. A very good thing as militia folks were threatening to come to town to “protect” her.

Fox News is terrified that we'll become just like Greece if we don't take the safety net apart and hand Social Security, etc., over to wealthy investors.
But as Marketwatch points out, $32 trillion changes hands every year, of which only $250 billion goes to actual, useful things. The rest is pretty much just money changing hands.
Also, our blogger looks at Jeb Bush's, Marco Rubio's and Rand Paul's economic plans that are all heavily composed of tax cuts. In other words, they're pretty much all snake oil and have an unwarranted faith in policies that haven't worked in four decades.

Obama succeeds in getting Iran deal approved by Congress. One major reason it was successful was that AIPAC shot itself in the foot by making the deal a partisan issue. Democrats felt obliged to stand by their party and president.

Been a while since the New Horizons spacecraft did a flyby of Pluto, thus marking the end of an era when we did flybys of all the planets. Photos are coming in now. Oh hey! Remember those old modems that connected at the speed of 56K? Yeah, the New Horizons sends data at the speed of 2K.

Originally, Louisiana gave a judge a list of 2,000 places that could fill in for the loss of Planned Parenthood clinics, Then the judge read the list. Oops! Only 29 of the places actually provide family-planning services. Anti-choicers say they can replace all of PPs services. Well, one of the places has a 2 to 7 week waiting list, so obviously, they've got a long way to go.

A substitute-teacher company promised to have 75% of their positions filled by school opening day. They've got 11%. Gee, maybe seriously under-paying and treating teachers as though they were the enemy isn't such a hot idea?

The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on Planned Parenthood and the “sting” video. Naturally, no members of PP are invited to attend. Also, a Democratic Representative asked about the rather sketchy group that produced the "sting" videos and was huffily told "'That’s not what this hearing is about,' Bopp responded, a little peevishly."
Of course not, because any sort of fairness and actual examination of the facts were not the point of this hearing.

NY Times removed the bureau chief whose bureau's reporting was seriously discrediting the NY Times as a whole. She's not being removed from political reporting entirely, more a matter of being “kicked upstairs,” but her obvious pro-Republican bias and anti-Clinton animus was seriously damaging the reputation of the Times.

The House Benghazi Committee shows once again it can't be trusted with anything as it leaks info about a two-year old bit of testimony that everyone knew about anyway.

Have to say, I'm extremely unimpressed with this so-called religious "expert." News accounts have made it clear that Kim Davis, the clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, wasn't just refusing to issue the marriage certificates, she was not permitting anyone else in the office to do so either. So no, allowing her to recuse herself from that task was not an option.

Just had an online conversation today about whether the Inky (Philadelphia Inquirer) was or wasn't a liberal paper. He thought that because it doesn't cover "the latest scandal about Hillary, the progress of IRS criminal probe and all of the other disasters of this administration," that it's really a left-wing paper. Okay, let's take that idea and look at another example. As a direct result of the deceptively-edited Planned Parenthood "sting" videos, Louisiana "has a large poor and unhealthy population (PP serves about 30,000 women there), with high rates of unintended pregnancies, a shortage of health professionals and too few who will accept Medicaid, as Planned Parenthood does." I say that the Inky's failure to report on the direct consequences of the "sting" means they're not a liberal paper at all.

From the piece: "Many conservatives and most libertarians argue that every new law or regulation means that government is adding to the sum total of oppression and reducing the freedom of individuals."
The columnist provides good answers to this presumption. My father took me and others on a tour of a power plant that he was working on. He took us to a bank of machines and told us that every single machine in that room contributed more power than it took away from the final product. Sure, okay, government takes away freedom, but every loss must be measured against the total benefit that it delivers. Let's not examine freedom in a vacuum, as though it stands all by itself.

Woo hoo! Very cool! As far as Washington state is concerned, public schools are okay. Private schools that pay their own way are okay. Private schools that receive public tax money are not okay.

So exactly what rule or law did Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk, break when she refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples? Actually, it was her oath of office. Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee complains that she wasn't granted bail, thereby demonstrating he has no idea what purpose bail serves and why it's completely beside the point in this case. And no, I'm sorry, but she isn't even vaguely similar to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A valid comparison was drawn between the clerk and a flight attendant who converted to Islam and decided that she could no longer serve alcohol. Problem was, she wanted to stay In her job.

Someone I was communicating with in the comments section of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Rick Santorum on Bill Maher both said that the claim that "97% of scientists agree that climate change is both real and man-made" was false. Nope. NASA has counted them. The claim is accurate. Also, there are over 200 governmental organizations worldwide that agree as well.

Governor Walker puts out his first ad, highlighting his fight with unions. Rachel Maddow helpfully reminds us that Wisconsin's economy is way behind everyone else's. Coincidence? I think not.

Good! Kentucky clerk ordered jailed for refusal to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Slight problem with Mike Huckabee comparing the insubordinate county clerk to Abraham Lincoln and the 1857 Dred Scott Supreme Court decision. Lincoln didn't simply ignore or refuse to obey the Scott decision. Lincoln put out the executive order The Emancipation Proclamation and after the Civil War, the US passed several Constitutional amendments formally and officially outlawing slavery (of course, blacks weren't fully and completely free until the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and people are working hard to revoke that). Lincoln didn't simply set Dred Scott aside.

Gaza is between a rock and a hard place. One of the major problems in Gaza is that reviving the economy for the civilians also means reviving things for Hamas, but there isn't much sentiment for kicking Hamas out.

Is diversity, by itself, a good thing? Yes, I'd say so. We do believe that diversity is a strength! Been to many, many anti-war meetings where all of the participants were white, on the elderly side, physically able, most likely straight and probably of a standard Christian or Jewish faith. Took part in meetings with the US Social Forum where the membership was much more diverse and danged if the spirit of the meetings weren't exactly the same. The advantage/difference was that the Social Forum represented the whole community better.

Iranian civil society weighs in> on proposed nuclear deal with US. They're strongly in favor of it.
Woo-hoo! A BFD here! By being the 34th Senator to sign onto the deal with Iran, Mikulski ensures that the resolution of disapproval sponsored by the deal's opponents will never get to the point where it will have to be vetoed. Good piece on how political polarization has destroyed the effectiveness of AIPAC.

The hidden-camera "journalist" James O'Keefe performs a "sting" operation on the Clinton campaign. The sad part is that the NY Times took it seriously.

Hmm, Russia appears inclined to intervene in Syria against ISIS.

*Sigh*, why, oh why, cant we have a better media?!?!?!?! Why did American troops agree in 2008 to leave Iraq in 2011? Not because of "victory," but because the Iraqi people and government wanted us to leave!

County clerk from Kentucky, Kim Davis, barricades herself in her office rather than issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

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Obama renames highest US mountain from McKinley to Denali. Alaska's representatives have been pushing for the change for years, but Ohio representatives (President McKinley's home state) are furious at the change.

Turkey launches their first air attacks against ISIS in Syria.

TV reporter & photographer killed live on the air in Virginia.

Globally, July was hottest month in recorded history.

ISIS blows up ancient temple (of Baalshamin, Phoenician god of rain and fertility) in Palmyra, Syria.

The infidelity website Ashley Madison loses 9.7 gigabytes of data to hackers, who post the names of users.

New EPA rules on global warming greenhouse gases announced. Applies to only new gas producers, but hey, any progress is good.

Wow! Truly horrible and disgusting opinion voiced by a writer for the Chicago Tribune. Not only does she want to see genocide committed in Chicago, she wants to use that as an excuse to lower the budget! How well does that work in prctice? Crushing unions and preventing public servants from making "too much" money sounds like a great deal for taxpayers, until you realize what the consequences of underpaid, say, prison guards, are.

Between Hillary Clinton's emails and Bernie Sanders, her troubles are enormously overstated.
That's not to say anything bad about Sanders, the blogger and I agree he's fulfilling a valuable and worthwhile role, calling much-needed attention to the highly worthwhile issue of income inequality.

Golly gee willikers! A conservative economist has to fudge the figures because conservative economics are unworkable in the real world, but he had to come up with something that people could point to anyway.

Jeb! Bush denounces the 2011 pullout from Iraq. Problem is, Iraq 2012 was not Germany 1946, it was more like Vietnam 1974. It was not "Victory," it was more of a breathing spell that everybody knew was temporary. Governor Chris Christie makes sensible (!!!) comments on Bush's Iraq War statement.

From a Daily Kos commenter: "A reminder that Bush's Iraq issues go deeper than just with Democrats. Members of his own party are shaking their heads." Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC) expresses partys' conventional wisdom on Iraq War "surge." Blogger explaineswhat surge" was really all about and how well it actually worked.

Never suspected that the criteria for putting people on the "No-Fly List" was so loose and casual, but I have thought for many years that the program, from its very beginning, should have had a way to get innocent people off of it. Apparently, they used Phillip K. Dick's ideas that were used to write the book Minority Report, the rather ridiculous idea that one could predict crimes by people.

Ah, Joe, you're such a tool! (Lieberman was kicked out of the Democratic party in 2006 for going off-message all the time) Lieberman took over from the former chairman of United Against a Nuclear Iran because the last guy concluded "Erm, actually guys, this is a good deal."

Saw a piece today that says it's proven that Bill Clinton encouraged Donald Trump to run and this was presented as "A-ha! The 1% are all working together!" I dunno, seems to me Clinton might have been trying to wreck the Republican Party from within. If that was his strategy, it's certainly working!

Excellent video on causes of the Civil War! I've always favored the more economic arguments myself, Southerners were trying to preserve the money and lifestyle they enjoyed. Of course, that leads to the question, where did they get that money and lifestyle? From slavery, of course! 

Interesting and not at all surprising look at someone who's not quite sure (nobody else is, either) whether she's white or a person of color (She's a Mizrahi Jew). Lots of evidence pointing in both directions. 

Very, very tough speech by our President on the Iran deal. If I were a member of the opposition party, I'd have a very difficult time disputing anything in it. I think it's ALL true!

Major problem with Jeb! Bush's statement is that he appeared to be dismissive of women's health generally and was not just dismissive of a particular approach to women's health. And I agree with the blogger, re-directing money from Planned Parenthood to an abstinence-only program is not just taking an equally effective approach to women's health. 
BTW, I appreciate that the blogger keeps acknowledging that his wife works for PP. Appreciate the honesty.

Senator Susan Colllins (R-ME) is allegedly "the Senate GOP’s most moderate member." What does that mean? Not much, apparently. She voted against Planned Parenthood, voted to repeal the ACA (No, the Senate GOP had no idea what they'd replace it with) and launched a completely incoherent attack on National Security Advisor Susan Rice. So it's hard to imagine just what "moderate" means these days.

The GOP appears seriously unable to govern or to even comprehend foreign policy. My favorite lines here: "Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming scoffed, 'That wasn’t even in the newspaper. That was a blog post.' Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina dismissed the statements as irrelevant because they didn’t come from elected officials."
Erm, information is information. Doesn't matter where it's printed or posted.

Do the Koch brothers make convincing revolutionaries? Wel-l-l-l..."During remarks to 450 wealthy conservatives assembled in the ballroom of a lavish oceanfront resort...Particularly when that [message] is coming from the mostly male, mostly white, all-Republican, all tea party candidates they're promoting..."  No, they're like the French aristocrats of the 1780s complainin of the peasants trying to oppress them.

Excellent obituary from Maine. Did Governor LePage kill Ms. Singer? He and the Republican Party certainly helped drive the knife in. She's ultimately responsible, but they certainly didn't help matters.

On the Planed Parenthood "sting" videos (that completely fail to identify any illegal activities by PP), Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' wife Ginni Thomas is deeply involved in the messaging for the group. Chief Justice Roberts has an extremely relaxed attitude towards Supreme Court Justices and conflicts of interests. I don't believe a single Justice during Roberts' tenure has ever had to recuse themselves under such circumstances.

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Lengthy piece on water and the struggle against privatization, well worth reading.

To the surprise of, well, no one, the head of the House Benghazi Committee is now suspected of being the source for the Hillary Clinton email story. The NY Times claimed their source for the story was usually a very good and reputable one, but Gowdy and Darrel Issa before him, are both highly unreliable sources that did not deserve any trust at all.

It’s easy to laugh at this, but let’s not lose sight of the larger context: Trump’s six-word health care plan – 'repeal and replace with something terrific' – is every bit as specific as the health care plan outlined by GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.

This fellow traces the NY Times' jihad against the Clintons all the way back to Whitewater. It's a serious institutional problem that makes the Times a strong, partisan player in the game and which badly hurts democracy.

Cheerful news concerning ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. Their opponents are making lots of gains against them.

Very cool! Boy Scouts end ban on gay Scout leaders.

Asked about scandals at his job-creation agency, Governor Walker said that this is “about cases that happened four years ago.” He added, “They put in place many positive reforms since then.” Actually, some cases are quite recent and as he was Chairman of the Board until just last week, it wasn't "they" who put in those reforms.

Hmm, Senator Cruz gives us the names of his favorites superheroes. Spiderman and Batman, okay. Wolverine and Iron Man, they're a little on the out-of-control, villainous side, but they're essentially okay. Rorschach?!?!?! Dude, that guy's a psycho!

Carly Fiorina proves she's a hard-core anti-choice zealot through and through. No, the Planned Parenthood “sting” wasn't shocking once you knew the full context, but no, the Mitt Romney video wasn't shocking because it was carefully edited, it was shocking because he said what he clearly really thought, that around 47% of the American people could be simply written off because they were poor and allegedly dependent on Uncle Sam for everything,

In Fahrenheit 9/11, Michael Moore gave Bush an internal monologue "I don't know what to do. Nobody's telling me what to do. What do I do?" In these photos, Cheney's internal monologue seems to be "Hmm, somebody ought to be doing something about this." Yes, I agree with the title, the images are quite nauseating.

Very happy to hear that pharmacists will not be permitted to make moral judgments about people picking up medicines. I have both a doctor and a pharmacist. I don't know my pharmacist anywhere near as well as I know my doctor. I see my doctor in a private office where we talk at length and without interruption, I see my pharmacist in a somewhat busy store where, at best, we might exchange a few pleasantries. No, my pharmacist is not qualified to decide on whether I need a medicine.

This is not a pro-Hillary Clinton story, this is a pro-professional journalism story. This is a story that says the NY Times has very badly bungled a story due to fanatical, partisan hatred. They really, really need to get a grip!

Governor Bobby Jindal, who BTW has a 100% rating score from the NRA, thinks gun violence in Louisiana is "unthinkable" and "unspeakable." Obviously, he hasn't been paying attention to the news for the last ten years or so.

As the piece demonstrates, Governor John Kasich really doesn't understand economics at all. It's not the lack of investment money that has been the problem, the problem has been the lack of consumer demand and that took a major hit when the housing bubble collapsed. That's why people have been agitating to raise the minimum wage and why the Obama Administration wants to increase pay by changing the definition of salaried employees.

Cool! An Earth-like world within the habitable zone of a Sun-like star that's a mere 1,400 light-years away (The Milk Way is around 100,000 light-years in diameter and 1,000 light-years thick). We've located a bit over 1,000 possibly habitable worlds, but this is a pretty close one.

US Government has handed over Oak Flats, AZ to a foreign mining company. Oak Flats contains a sacred Native American burial ground. The Apache are not pleased about this.

How does one properly read Their top-line judgments (True, partially true, etc.) are often flawed, but their substantive reporting is usually quite good and reliable. They completely agree that the Planned Parenthood "sting" videos are horribly flawed and deceptive.

Good! Deputy may pay legal penalty for bad consequences of "No-Knock" raid. "No-Knock" raids should be carried out at the legal expense of the raider. If the occupant panics and opens fire, too bad for the raider. In this case, the raider obtained a warrant based on false information and badly wounded a 19-month old. Throw the book at him!

Hmm, so let me get this straight, the GOP hates excessive and crooked government, so they want to dismantle a watchdog agency?!?!?!?!

A comprehensive look the traffic stop> that was made of Sandra Bland that occurred before she was found dead in her jail cell (She allegedly hung herself, but no one believes that), Around the 9:00 minute mark, Ms. Bland has some words with the officer, obviously carefully measured and modulated, but the officer got really bent out of shape about what she was saying to him. Things escalated from there. As I said, this just looks like straight-up, flat-out murder. Serious question raised. Also, since when are photos taken after prisoners are in prison gear?!?!? Aren't photos usually taken during booking, when people are still in their usual street clothes?

Jeb Bush wrote a letter to the head of the Swift Boat Veterans, praising them for smearing John Kerry's service in Vietnam. Problem was, they didn't present any evidence to back up their charges (See Chapter 7 of Lapdogs) and papers stopped covering them by September 2004, by which time the damage was done to Kerry's campaign. So no, people shouldn't be "presented with the facts," when, by “facts,” Bush is referring to unsubstantiated accusations. No, papers shouldn't cover lies and smears to begin with. Bush was happy to have his side smear Kerry in 2004, but now it's not proper to smear McCain in 2015.

Very cool! CBN presents a 700 Club episode where a scientist explains the reality of global warming. I like that she explains it as a stewardship campaign, too.

Slight problem with comparing slavery to gay marriage: “Did Frederick Douglass give up when he was fighting against slavery?”  Well, no, but slavery directly affected how Douglass was able to live his life. Men marrying men and women marrying women has, at best or worst, an indirect effect on non-gay people.

The closest I got to any action while in the Navy was to be on a ship on the other side of Italy during the bombing of the former Yugoslavia, but it really, really fries my hide to see someone who "never heard a shot fired in anger" criticizing someone who did see action! Didn't hurt Trump in the polls, though.

Very cool and a definite BFD! Civil rights laws apply to the LGBT community.

On the Planned Parenthood video “sting,” Fox News' Megyn Kelly claims "The video doesn't lie." Well, maybe not, but as the piece from TPM argues, the video tells an extremely misleading story.

The media and the nuclear deal with Iran. At one time, France's Fabius and Germany's Merkel were highly skeptical of the nuclear deal with Iran. They both came around and decided to support it. Aren't their stories worthy of coverage? Wouldn't recounting their changes of heart make for good TV? Why is American corporate media so lazy and worthless?

Very happy to see the IMF reaching the same conclusion that I and many others reached. Combining economies is an all-or-nothing proposition. You can either have a situation where the wealthier New York state subsidizes the less-wealthy Mississippi (meaning Germany should simply swallow a loss on Greece's behalf) or you can have complete independence where Greece can manipulate its own currency for its own benefit. What you absolutely can't have is the current situation, where Germany is sort-of, kind-of in charge of Greece's economy. As of late July, tensions over the Euro had increased even more.

Excellent commentary on the Iran deal. Yeah, the US could have taken on both Hitler and Stalin, but the US very wisely chose to not get crazy and to not exhaust itself by taking on too much. Let's pleasee not get crazy try to solve all of the Iranian problems all at once.

New Pluto photos. Pluto has 11,000 foot-high mountains, no crater marks (meaning the surface is renewed all the time) and deep crevices.

Hee, hee, hee!!! Trump is causing so much damage to the Republican brand, people suspect him of being an undercover Democrat! Bwah-hah-hah! But, hmm, about a month later, it was revealed that Bill Clinton did urge Trump to run, so maybe that's not such a crazy thought after all.

To their credit, unlike a certain James O'Keefe (Who was working with Andrew Breitbart at the time), the group that did the Planned Parenthood "sting" videos made the entire two hour recording available, whereupon various media-examination and accountability groups found all kinds of problems.

Thoughts on Donald Trumps entry into the presidential race.

Well, our local columnist is unhappy with the Iran nuclear deal, but it's really not clear what, short of absolute victory, would have satisfied her objections. The US previously tried, and miserably failed, to get complete and absolute victories that satisfied all critics. Obama went for what was possible, something that could actually be achieved.

Governor Bobby Jindal wants to investigate Planned Parenthood over “sting” videos that try to make the case that PP is selling fetal body parts. Gawker and my LTE saying “Nope. That's not what's happening.”

The era of sending spacecraft to planets in our solar system came to an end as Pluto was photographed in a fly-by of less than 8000 miles away. It took the New Horizon spacecraft nine and a half years to travel the roughly three billion miles. It takes radio signals nine hours to make the return trip, so it will take 16 months to get all the data to Earth.

Very cool! America, Iran and others burned the midnight oil and reached a deal! Let's hope its a good one and that it sticks. Key details from Think Progress.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has declared he's running for President. How is his state doing? From the Pew report: "In 2000, 54.6 percent of Wisconsin families fell into the middle class category but that has fallen to 48.9 percent in 2013, according to U.S. Census figures compiled by Pew.
"All other states showed some decline but none as great as Wisconsin’s 5.7 percent figure."
Wow! Hmm, gee, I wonder if that has anything to do with Walker's ant-union policies?

Boy Scouts end ban on adult gay leaders.

The blogger makes a very good point. What exactly do we not know about the incident in Benghazi 2012 that's in any way still unclear? We know that the Ambassador didn't want extra security. Why is that? We don't know, but there may have been concerns about too heavy a footprint, but he's dead, so we'll never know for sure. We know there was no "stand down order." We know that units in the area responded with all due haste.
Okay, Congress has not received each and every single solitary document that it possibly could, but what do we need to know that's not already clear?

Dan Froomkin wrote news summaries for the WaPo during the Bush Administration and worked as an editor for the Huffington Post. Now he's writing for the Glenn Greenwald publication The Intercept. The lawyer for the NSA says: "We do what those orders authorize. If the orders authorize it, we’re allowed to do it. If they don’t, we’re not." Okay, so what are the orders concerning how the NSA can use speech-to-text software to take phone conversatins and produce indexed, tagged, cross-referenced and filed summaries of those conversations? Yeah, funny story on that, there really are no specific instructions that anyone knows of.

Good to see the Confederate flag coming down from the South Carolina statehouse. Delightful to see GOP getting all flustered and tripping over their own feet on the issue.
Is the victory more symbolic than real? Yeah, but it's long-overdue for Americans to arrive at the consensus that that flag is a symbol of hate, racism and white supremacy.
The original rant by Allen West is bad enough. It shows a complete lack of appreciation for what removing the Confederate flag meant. Yes, I think the people who called for its removal fully understood that it would not solve every racial problem and West seriously underestimates us if he thinks we're really that stupid. His rant "solves" a non-existent problem. And of course, the racists who jumped to piggyback onto West's rant have even less of an excuse.

Yeah, somehow this "occupy a foreign country and bring them up to Western standards" never seems to work out for the occupied country, though it's often profitable for the occupier. Funny how that works.

The Confederate flag issue didn't have to be dealt with by the House at all, but Speaker Boehner demonstrated again, for the %$#@%!! zillionth time that he's the least competent, most ineffective Speaker> in living memory. Congress made a good call by voting, by a voice vote, to not allow Confederate flags to be sold in gift shops. WHY Boehner couldn't just let it lie, We'll never know!

Jeb Bush doesn't appear to understand the economy at all. The correction here makes no sense. Workforce participation is down because of the Great Recession that began a year before Obama took office. The economy lost several trillion dollars worth of wealth. Consumer demand is still not back up to where it was in 2007. Making ordinary Americans work longer hours is not just hard-hearted, it isn't going to fix anything. Good round-up of information on how Jeb Bush thinks you're lazy and why he's wrong.

Wal-Mart refuses to fill prescription for a woman who's fetus died in her womb. This was foreseeable and predictable. No cause whatsoever for any sort of surprise. Pharmacists should never have this sort of authority.

Brava! SC Representative makes an impassioned and entirely correct plea to her fellow Representatives to take down a "symbol of hate" and to do so NOW! Thankfully, the SC House voted to do just that and the Confederate flag will come down on Friday.

Really? Majority Leader McConnell is concerned about the effect that corporate mergers might have on consumers (He was criticizing the ACA)? When has he ever shown such concern before? [mumble, mutter, looks it up] Nope, never. This is a first.

I've heard that, in many novels and series of novels, the author sometimes loses interest in the main character and turns his or her attention to other, more interesting characters. That appears to be what's happening to the Republican-led Benghazi Committee. They asked Sidney Blumenthal "more than 50 questions about his relationship with the Clinton Foundation and only four about security in Benghazi." They spent nine hours questioning him even though they knew that he had no meaningful role in the 2012 tragedy. They've also spent some time looking into the group Media Matters as that group debunked many Benghazi lies.
Y'know, it's time for the NINTH Benghazi investigation to simply pack it in and to admit there's simply nothing there.

Very sad. Bill Cosby was a great artist, but a lousy human being, no excuses. The women he drugged, raped and harassed deserved better.

It's very nice and refreshing to see Rick Perry decrying "indifference" to black voters but in-person voter fraud is a problem that occurs about once in every four to five million votes, and yet the Republican Party considers it to be a major problem and aw, gee, oopsie! Tackling voter fraud in the way they've been tackling it means disenfranchising many millions of black voters>. So-o-o-o, the problem is a bit more complex and the answer is just a bit more complicated than "We've got to try harder."

Greece votes decisively against European bailout. Excellent short film on the reason for the Greek crisis.

Lengthy, excellent piece that appears to confirm what a lot of gloomy lefties say, that the game is hopelessly rigged and we have no representatives in the Democratic Party, but what I think the piece makes clear is that the game of professionals and insiders is becoming clearer to the public and Democrats can't win without an enthusiastic base. Democrats have to solve this problem or be consigned to irrelevance. Seriously, who wants a Republican-lite party? Republicans aren't going to settle for near-beer, they want the real stuff. Democrats have no reason to like it as liberalism is not just a weakened, diluted form of Republicanism, but a set of ideas all their own.

MMFA makes it very clear that the original Clinton email states that Paul Begala was seeking a "briefing" prior to his appearance in a report on Clinton's first 100 days as Secretary of State. The NY Times changed the wording to "talking points." The right-wing media followed suit and also used the term "talking points," but they can hardly be blamed for trusting that the NY Times had given them the accurate wording. The question then is, was this an error due to laziness and sloppiness or was it active, deliberate malice? Considering that the NY Times jumped on the "Clinton Cash" book back in April without having first confirmed any of the details, my bet is on malice. the latest "Clinton email scandal" shows tht the Rep. Trey Gowdy Benghazi commission is a fast becoming a sad joke and needs to be disbanded.

Well, looks like the US and Israel are no longer quite as shoulder-to-shoulder as they once were. Some daylight visible between Obama and Netanyahu. US suggesting BDS against Israeli occupation is okay. Also, Israel seriously losing support among Democrats.

Hmm. Jim Webb, former Senator from Virginia and former Secretary of the Navy (He got there via being a Marine as opposed to being a sailor) wants to run for President, but yeah, being openly nostalgic for the Confederate flag and being indifferent to global warming reduces his popularity among Democrats to pretty close to zero.

June                         back to top

If anybody ever tries to convince you that the traditional, Beltway media knows politics and that they're "savvy," consider that they had a real "bromance" with Governor Christie, whose “rising star” has now collapsed.
Governor Christie enters the race for the presidential nomination late. From the MSNBC piece: "And it’s true – the governor likes to *talk* about his no-nonsense, straight-talking persona. The trouble is, Christie doesn’t back up the reputation with actual substance, instead ducking tough questions that might lead to politically problematic answers."

A very good decision from SCOTUS! I've long been suspicious of bipartisan commissions trying to do more than they're capable of doing, but re-districting is well within their competence and they promise to do a much better job than a single political party ever will.

A very, very bad decision! At a time when power plant emissions are contributing to global warming and when global warming threatens our very survival as a species, the Supreme Court just ruled that the EPA needs to take the cost of complying with regulations into account. Uh, what's the cost of keeping us all alive?!?!?!?! How does that cost stack up against the profits of power plants?!?!?

Great to get the Confederate flag discredited and to see people voluntarily taking it down, but six black churches have been burned down in the past week.

Very cool! Pope Francis recruits Naomi Klein to help spread the message of resistance to climate change! Everyone know where Ms. Klein stands and it's on the side of human survival.

Woo hoo! Woman gets tired of waiting for South Caroline to bring Confederate flag down from in front of Statehouse, climbs up the flagpole and takes it down herself! It was put back up less than an hour later, but the symbolism was quite enjoyable.

Excellent pair of articles. A blogger shares his knowledge on voter rolls and how and how not to go through them and verify them. Next, we have Jeb Bush's purging of voter rolls just before his brother won the 2000 election. In better world, Jeb would get lots of questions about how he handled this!

"Gaystapo?!?!?!" Yeesh! Fox News is very, very unhappy that same-sex couples can now marry because that means the couple would then be, y'know, happy and love would be triumphant and people would be smiling and cheerful and, gosh darn it, all that yucky, horrible stuff.

Y'know, I'm happy for the younger Palin that she's expecting another child and that she's happy about the prospect, but yeah, it's also a really, really bad case of IOIYAR! It's quite good that Palin has the choice and that she's not facing any social disapproval for, y'know, not "keeping her legs together." Palin says her pregnancy was planned, but her comments after that make it clear that it was no such thing. Ya wanna have the kid? Great, far out, more power to ya! But please don't lecture anyone about how "abstinence-only" is such a great method for teaching about family planning and birth control. Her own behavior has made it clear that it's a seriously inadequate method.
More snarky observations.

First off, woo-hoo and yee-hah for the decision of the Supreme Court that ACA/Obamacare subsidies are good in all 50 states!!! Very pleased to hear it! This was a highly sensible decision considering that the several million people who would have lost their insurance would have waited years to get their health care plans back. That is, if they ever came back at all. Second, the SCOTUS knew full well that they'd share the blame with the Republican Party if millions of people suddenly lost their subsidies. This was not "tyranny," it was self preservation.

Good! Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina says that she wants the Confederate flag taken down from in front of the State House. Now, of course, Republican presidential candidates can say they too, want to see it taken down, now that she's taken the heat for them.
And from the TNR piece: "Haley’s change of heart wasn’t the result of a moral epiphany, or even really an admission that the people who’ve been seeking the flag’s removal for years were right all along."
True. We should take a victory lap anyway, regardless of why Haley made her decision. A victory is a victory and should be celebrated as such. The Republican field disgraced itself by waiting until Haley acted and Haley disgraced herself by waiting for so long to act. And no, this is not the end of the fight over the Confederate flag by any means.
Excellent, heavily documented look at the years before the Civil War and of slavery. No, the South was not just sitting around and minding its own business before the "War of Northern Aggression" commenced.

“Fox News host Andrea Tantaros said Monday she didn’t understand why Republican presidential candidates were being 'peppered' over the flying of the Confederate flag.”
Obviously, Ms. Tantaros has never heard of "Nixon's Southern Strategy" nor is she aware that the Democrats of today have zero difficulty condemning the Confederacy and its symbols. It's Republicans who are making excuses for the Confederate battle flag being prominently displayed.

Chuck Todd of MTP turns in an extremely tone-deaf piece featuring an exclusively African-American group of convicted murderers talking about how guns make them feel powerful. This was shot and scheduled before the murders in Charleston, but would have been grossly inappropriate in any event. Good to see him getting lots of pushback.

Rolling Stone speaks the truth. The killings in Charleston, SC, were terrorism as they were highly political. Our local newspaper leans a bit to the right wing, I put up a comment there yesterday to that effect and no one has taken issue with that statement. Oh, and good! I don't usually have much praise for Mitt Romney and it would be nice to see an active Republican presidential candidate visibly agree with him, but I heartily approve of his message of “Take down the Confederate flag.” And yes, I agree that Senator Cruz's oratorical debating skills are hugely overrated. Allegedly, the Confederate flag represents heritage, but it only started becoming popular again in the South when black veterans came home from World War II and started agitating for their rights. So no, in the modern era, it has nothing to do with heritage or state's rights and everything to do with reaction to the Civil Rights Movement.

Not only does Rich Lowry completely lack any credentials to speak about the South Caroline killings, but Lowry refers to the Isla Vista killings of 2014 in California to claim that left-wingers jumped to the unwarranted conclusion that the killer was a misogynist who hated women. Actually, as Wikipedia points out, "Before driving to the sorority house, Rodger uploaded a video to YouTube, titled 'Elliot Rodger's Retribution', in which he outlined details of his upcoming attack and its motivations, which he described as a desire to punish women for rejecting him and also a desire to punish sexually active men for living a more enjoyable life than his."
So yes, the lefties who said the killer was motivated by misogyny were entirely correct in diagnosing at least part of his motivation. Why was Lowry used by Fox as being some sort of expert?!?!?!

No, the South Caroline Statehouse is not deliberately keeping their Confederate flag at full mast while all of their other flags are at half-mast, that flag is not on a standard pulley but is instead locked into place. Still, it makes for a shocking and horrifying symbolism as the murderer of nine African—Americans was a real fan of the Confederate flag. Also, remember that, back in 2009, the government attempted to put out a study on right-wing terrorism. Right-wingers screamed and yelled and jumped up and down and banged their fists on the table and the study was withdrawn. Too bad, because the shooting in South Carolina was a clear case of right-wing terrorism. Oh, and Jeb Bush plays dumb on the motivations of the South Carolina killings so as not to indict his fellow Republicans.

Naomi Klein on Democracy Now! speaking about Pope Francis' long-awaited encyclical on climate change and the environment: "A lot of the language of the climate justice movement has just been adopted by the Pope."
How is the science in the encyclical? Couple of minor quibbles, but it's all essentially correct and on-point. So no, the right wing complaint that the Pope is not a scientist (He actually has a degree in chemistry) and should stick to non-scientific topics is really not germane.

21-year old white fellow commits mass murder at historic church in Charleston, South Caroline. Details on the shooting, the pastor who died had spent the morning campaigning with Hillary Clinton and the shooter had apparently spent at least a hour talking with the group.

Got a Facebook buddy who's taken to quoting from the group No Labels. NL has announced that they'd like to see America add 25 million new jobs over the next decade, kind of like how Jeb Bush would like to see sustained 4% growth each and every month for his entire eight years in office. The idea sounds great, but how are they gonna do it? I don't think NL is completely useless, but as they say "The Devil is in the details." Distressingly, many media outlets are uncritically reporting Jeb's economic goals as if they were realistic.

First off, why would Jeb Bush (Who is now, BTW, an officially announced candidate for president) have to speak at town hall meetings to learn that Social Security is not an entitlement? Second, it's not a "supplemental" program for many millions of people. For many, many people, it's their only retirement program. Not "actuarially sound"? It could be made sound very easily, just raise the payments made by the wealthy into it. Finally, I dearly hope that IF Jeb become president, his attempt to destroy SS will be just as disastrous for him as it was for his brother.

The "Davos Democrats," people who go to big international meetings about the economy and come back saying we have to slash Social Security, etc., had credibility back in the 90s, but they've lost that by making lots of predictions that just didn't come true. They can't just get up on a pedestal and expect fellow Democrats to listen with any real attention or respect.

This is a charge we're sure to see much more of (and that will never be disputed or challenged on Fox News), the idea that because Clinton is rich, she can't possibly favor the non-wealthy. Erm, there was a family that was very, very wealthy, yet did quite a bit for the non-rich.

Well, one out of three cheers, anyway. Kansas has finally conceded that tax cuts do not have the magical power of growing the economy by themselves, so cutting the tax rate by 1% doesn't automatically grow the economy by any predetermined amount. OTOH, the burden of the new taxes seems to be borne almost exclusively by those with the least ability to pay, as the tax hikes are in sales and cigarette taxes.

Hmm, sexist or anti-Democratic? Ron Fournier and David Brooks had absolutely zero problems with G.W. Bush's base mobilization strategy in 2000, in fact, they were in awe of it in 2004. For some reason, Hillary Clinton is wrong to pursue precisely the same strategy in 2016. Are there maybe special rules for the Clintons?

Raising the retirement age, per Governor Christie, is "not going to stop the world from spinning on its axis." No, that's true, but economists looked at that idea back during the 2012 campaign and y'know what? It's a terrible idea.

Chris Wallace of Fox News interviews Representative Paul Ryan about what the Republican Party will do if the Supreme Court acts to unravel the ACA/Obamacare. Listening carefully to Rep. Ryan, yeah, it's pretty clear that Republican have no plan and that if the Supreme Court rules their way, that nearly eight million people will lose coverage and maybe, possibly, several years down the line, maybe they'll be covered again. Possibly.

See, Chuck Todd is a perfectly adequate interviewer IF all you want is simply to hear the talking points of the candidate. If you want to get any sort of follow-up or questioning, you're wasting your time.

Hmm, so the Iowa straw poll is no more. No biggie. After years of becoming steadily less relevant (Michele Bachmann was the last one to win it), people finally said the heck with it. That restores New Hampshire's role as the first primary.

The Democrats pulled in lots and lots of campaigning money by writing doom'n'gloom "we're all gonna die" emails. But the point of a political operation is not to pull in money, it's to get candidates into office. At that, they stunk.

NBC concludes that TPP is unpopular across the board, with Republicans, Democrats and independents all hating it. The method NBC used, Survey Monkey, is not exactly a poll, but Daily Kos endorses it as reasonable accurate.

Well, reducing the military equipment in civilian hands remains an extremely good idea, but it turns out to be very complicated. Good on the Obama Administration for doing what they can, but there's "less than meets the eye" to the new regulations.

Rather distressing to see Louisiana state legislators begging Grover Norquist to go back on his limited government-no new taxes ideology. What they should do is to simply say "We tried it Norquist's way, it clearly failed, we need to dump his obviously-wrong ideology."

SCOTUS prepares to rule on ACA case in a few weeks. Piece looks at various Republican plans to respond to the ACA being dismantled. In no way, shape or form are Republicans prepared to replace the ACA if the Supreme Court rules against subsidies.

Blatant racism resulting in police manhandlng and waving guns at black youths of 13 to 14 years old. Local homeowner makes pathetic excuses for racism. Police should have simply left the whole party alone or, at the absolute minimum, should have left their guns and tasers in their cars. There's no question that the tweens were being uncooperative and resisting arrest, but if fully-grown men can't handle a bunch of tweens without firearms, they shouldn't be policemen at all. The National Bar Association says policeman should be fired.

So Greg Gutfeld (From Fox News' The Five) is doing a comedy show> and states that a woman was burned alive by ISIS. Is that a bad thing?
Sure. Absolutely. No two ways about it.
Gutfeld's "punchline" is then: “Torching a girl is a true war on women, unless you see it as the next renewable fuel.”
Erm, is Gutfeld trying to suggest that paying women less or letting rapes go unsolved is somehow not part of the "War on Women?"
So yeah, now you can see why conservatives can't appear to be able to do comedy.

By the way, this is an excellent link with which to convince conservatives that not only is global warming real but that yes, we can replace all fossil fuel burners with renewable energy sources. It'll take 30 to 70 years, depending on how urgent we think the problem is, but it will definitely happen. It features Jeremy Grantham, the manager of the $100 billion hedge fund GMO Capital. That's important because right-wingers know that investors are careful about where they spend their money and they do the necessary research.

This is a BFD and I don't mean that in a good way. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to simply ignore his Constitutional responsibilities and to govern however the &%$# he pleases for the remainder of his term as Leader or until a Republican President takes office, whichever comes first. Also, what is McConnell's big priority? What does he consider to be the biggest problem facing the country? Why, over-regulation, of course! Yup, he thinks the EPA is costing business too much.

Lengthy piece on Iraq, well worth reading in full. The general anti-ISIS strategy is fine, its just lacking in the actual, tactical execution. Partition is an awful idea and politicians in the US need to watch what they're saying as Iraqis are listening closely. When we insult Iraqis by saying they're unwilling to fight, that does great damage.

Very interesting to see that right and left agreed by the same margin that job creation is important to both sides at 86%. Problem is, the right-wing priority of balancing the budget is irrelevant to jobs, taxes don't have much to do with them and by trade, I suspect the other side favors NAFTA and TPP. The left, OTOH, rightly thinks fixing income inequality will do a lot to create jobs (Why build a widget factory if no one has the spare money to buy any widgets?) and energy and infrastructure both have obvious applicability to job creation. So, in theory, both sides like the idea of job creation, but lefties, IMHO, have some idea of how to go about, y'know, actually creating them.

A detailed look at the creation of ISIS. Who's the one single individual on the planet who was most responsible for the creation of that group? You can zip down to the end and find out, but I doubt anyone will be overly surprised.

There has been a call to strip Caitlyn Jenner of the medals she won when she was a male. The Roman Catholic Church dealt with this kind of problem many centuries ago. A priest would marry a couple, it was discovered years later that the priest was committing a crime at the time and thus was unqualified to marry the couple. The Church decided that as everybody thought the priest was legitimate at the time, that everything he did in his official capacity remained legal, which is why you don't hear of large numbers of people having to re-marry or to be re-baptized. Nope, everything Caitlyn did as a male remains legally and properly done.

Neocon Fred Hiatt, writing in the WaPo, examines the “unraveling” of Iraq and kinda glides over why the US departed from Iraq in 2011 by ignoring the war's deep unpopularity with both the American and Iraqi people. I note that he also oversimplifies the quieting of Iraq after the surge, which was accompanied by the defeat of al Qaeda and the withdrawal of Muqtada al-Sadr from the field.

Wow! Truly excellent news on the surveillance front! The Senate confirmed the House-passed USA Freedom Act, which seriously diminishes the Patriot Act. Couple of limitations and certainly could have been better, but America is definitely recovering from post-9-11 fear-mongering!

The Republican National Committee guy, Reince Priebus, organizes a Black Music event and is then the only person to not show up for it. No, the RNC didn't have anybody else to fill in for him. Showing, once again, that Republican outreach to African-Americans is a sad joke.

Louisiana is discovering the hard way that perhaps Grover Norquist can't really be bothered with their welfare. Perhaps Norquist knows nothing and cares even less about how to run a state.

Very cool! Section 215 of the Patriot Act (that allows for mass surveillance) is dead!!! The Senate broke up for the night without coming up with a rescue plan. They'll meet tomorrow afternoon to reconsider the House's plan (considered highly likely to pass).
Very good news on NSA reforms. Senate Majority Leader McConnell really, really hates the House-passed reform bill and has thought up all sorts of schemes to thwart it, but the House put a lot of work into their bill and they don't have to accept his proposals.

May                         back to top

Jeb Bush tries to convince us that his brother served as a good example to follow as far as national security and restrained spending went. Can't really see much success in G.W. Bush's actions after 9-11. He couldn't help but unify the country, the problem was that his only idea of what to do afterwards was simply to go shopping and later to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq. As far as restraining spending went, putting two wars on the credit card without even canceling his 2001 and 2003 tax breaks was hardly a sign of responsibility.

Kansas is still a long way from fiscal sanity, but the spell of Grover Norquist-inspired austerity is clearly starting to fade.

So, how are Republicans doing on that ol' ACA replacement plan of theirs? "The report, released by the American Academy of Actuaries, reviews two of the GOP’s proposals, including one gaining the most traction in the House..."
So, in other words, they're still arguing over the basic architecture of a replacement plan, meaning they're a long way from being ready a month from now.

Heh! Celebrities, living and dead, are rated on their evil vs good scores from 1 to 40, with Einstein being 1 and Hitler being 40. G.W. Bush is in the high 30s.

The proportion of Muslims in Texas is almost 1.7%, so opposing Sharia Law in Texas is pretty much like opposing African-Americans in New Hampshire (1.5%). If Pam Geller really wants to "fight the power," she needs to go someplace where Muslims are in the majority.

Good grief! And no, this is not the slightest bit surprising. Out of 21 House Committees, the Republican-run House Committee that was set up to investigate Benghazi has spent a middling amount of money. To put the spending for this committee in context, the House Committee that spent the least for Jan 2013 to Jan 2014 spent $2.9 million, the most was $9.5 million, the Benghazi Committee spent $5.7 million. They will spend another $3.3 million over the next year.

Jeb Bush supports Alzheimer's research. Not coincidentally, his mother-in-law has the disease. From the piece: "Who in the GOP supports same-sex marriage? Dick Cheney (gay daughter) and Rob Portman (gay son). Who in the GOP is skeptical about torture? John McCain (torture victim). Who in the GOP ever says a kind word about Muslims? Grover Norquist (married to a Palestinian Muslim)." Yeah, these guys all support good positions, but notice the common denominator, these issues affect them personally.”

Governor Walker proves himself to be amazingy obtuse and ignorant of why women object to having forced ultrasounds prior to being able to have an abortion.

Wow! Jeb Bush's favorite philosopher really just wants to tear it all down and re-litigate all the way back to the 1930s in order to get his ideal society, that is, back to feudalism!

GOP now just waking up to the harm they could cause themselves if the Supreme Court rules in their favor. A right-winger declared that the party was in fine shape as they had three competing replacement plans. But three plans at this point is not good! That means they're still deciding on basic principles and outlines when they should have long been on ironing out the details of one agreed-upon plan.

Usually, when I recommend ideas for the other party, its done in a malicious spirit of mischief, but this is actually a pretty cool-sounding idea. Have small numbers of candidates debate, weaker candidates get voted off the stronger candidates survive!

A number of lefties over the years have poked fun at the "libertarian paradise" of Somalia. Actually, Honduras is where it's been tried and where they've actually put the theory into practice. How does it work? Let me put it this way, there's a reason it will never spread. There's a reason we gave up feudalism and moved to modern life. There's a reason libertarianism appeals pretty much exclusively to privileged kids with little life experience.

Very interesting, the FRC (Defined by the SPLC as a hate group) has long insisted that non-heterosexuality and pedophilia were connected, that people who were not men-loving women or women-loving men were highly likely to molest children. Their relative silence in the case of Josh Duggar reveals that they're embarrassed by a well-known heterosexual (Who was very highly judgmental of LGBT people as all being potential child molesters) was a child molester himself. D'oh! Gotta hate it when your pet theory gets blown up by the facts! Oh, and why were the girls relegated to second place in the news? The movement the Duggars are part of encorages submission to men.

Yeah, yeah, I know, Clinton is cozy with the bankers and other big money boyz, but this disrespecting of the hedge fund people is a smart move on her part and one we should cheer on.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell tried and failed to get NSA surveillance powers extended. It's now or never. The authority for mass surveillance sinks or swims within a week. McConnell tried hard to panic the Senate into passing the short-term extension. No luck.

Woo-hoo! Ireland passes marriage equality bill by 2:1 margin!

Interesting theory on "white fragility" pulls together lots of different threads. Well worth a read.

Whoa! Yup, y'all want your outrage for the day, here ya go! Couple tries to get satisfaction from gun retailers for Sandy Hook massacre, ends up owing a quarter-million dollars to the gun retailers!

Yeah, the whole “fiscally conservative but socially liberal” line is a crock. Piece makes excellent point about how Ferguson, MO supports town expenditures. They levy fines on poor blacks rather than tax richer whites. What's the effect of the "social liberalism" people feel? Zip. No, there's no compromise, you're either a liberal or a conservative. 

PA Senator Toomey makes ludicrous overstatements about police weaponry. In Ferguson, MO last August, the police arrived looking as though they were fighting the Iraq War against heavily-armed insurgents as opposed to being a domestic police force trying to calm a tense situation. No, the police do not need to be armed with items like bayonets and MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protection vehicles).

Very cool! I have co-congregants who work for the Boy Scouts. They were in favor of allowing gays in, but decided to join anyway and wait and see if the BSA "saw the light." Their faith was rewarded!

It's not just that Bush and Cheney, et al, told a few whoppers here and there or stretched the truth a bit now and then, it was that there was a deliberate, planned campaign to get Americans into a war with Iraq. Also, not surprising is that Americans have revised their memories (or just their stories) to fit with current conventional wisdom on invading Iraq. They were actually in favor of invading by 63% to 34%, but currently only 38% say they favored invasion while 47% say they opposed it.

These smear campaigns on the SNAP/Food Stamp program by Fox News and others cause very real and serious harm. The great majority of SNAP assistance goes to people taking care of dependants who aren't able to earn a salary for themselves, but the lazy, single, surfer Greenslate is presented as typical. says: "The Trans-Pacific Partnership is secret to all but a handful of approved negotiators.
"Here's one of the people who has read it -- and he thinks you should be very worried about what's in this massive, secret corporate power grab."

The Republican Congress and Senate have really not distinguished themselves in the struggle over how to figure out how to fight ISIS.

Many years ago, Dan Quayle (Vice President under the elder George Bush) made the "error" of answering a pregnancy choice question honestly. Would he support his daughter if she wanted to have an abortion? He abruptly spun on a dime and did a 180-degree turn and changed from an absolutist, hard-core anti-choice stance to a thoroughly acceptable pro-choice stance because, hey, we were talking about a family member, not some anonymous woman somewhere who was probably just irresponsible. A Republican Representative from TN is making a very similar statement, saying that abortion is immoral, except for, y'know, when his own wife and mistress do it.

On NSA surveillance, the House has spoken and has said the right thing, that the telecommunications companies should hang onto all of the data and can make specific pieces available with a court order. Several Senators disagree, but haven't made a good case. Getting down to the wire on this.

Wow! The Republican Party is really going crazy with all of this anti-choice stuff! They've raised it up to a major priority of theirs For all women who care about choice, please read this and watch the Rachel Maddow video in it.

Just in case anyone is thinking that ISIS is not all that terrible a group, they're within a mile of Palmyra, one of the world’s most complete Roman archaeological sites. Archaeologists are deeply concerned tha they'll wreck the site. Uuuugh!!! It just hurts to see these ancient treasures destroyed. Also, ISIS has been carrying out serious atrocities against living people as well.

Florida Governor Rick Scott decides to preview what would happen if the Supreme Court rules against the ACA/Obamacare. And yes, Republicans have three competing plans for replacement, but they should have long since agreed on a single plan and should be ironing out details by now, not still arguing over basic architecture.

A little bit surprising to see that Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death. We knew, at the absolute rock-bottom, bare minimum, he was in for life in prison without parole, but I thought he wouldn't be executed.

ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) is a very troubling aspect of the TPP and reason enough to oppose TPP and all of the NAFTA-style treaties all by itself. TPP is also bad for both the climate and the environment.

The blogger reviews the new book by Charles Murray (Jebyn's favorite philosopher, BTW) and finds Murray to be nostalgic for the Gilded Age. Murray would like to repeal the New Deal entirely.

Pundits have been claiming that "Gee, if members of the parties only got together and drank and schmoozed and let their hair down and got to know each other, politics would work so much better!" Majority Leader McConnell says "Nope. Not gonna happen." (He didn't use those exact words, of course) and pops the bubble of a nice fantasy.

Amtrak train derails in Philadelphia when taking a sharp curve at high speed. Of course, the derailment is blamed on conservatives underfunding of our infrastructure. Conservatives get very upset and claim that the time isn't right to bring up underfunding, but if we observed such “rules,” it would never be brought up at all! Of course, Congress then votes to cut Amtrak funding still further, thereby making more accidents more likely. And as Rachel Maddow points out, it's not like we don't know how to prevent derailments like what just happened in Philly. It's not like we don't have the technology to fix this problem. It's far more a matter of just spending the necessary money than it is of inventing something new.

Excellent piece on negotiations over nuclear weapons, with first North Korea and then Iran. Many right-wingers have claimed that Clinton messed up and signed a lousy deal with North Korea. This piece makes it clear that Republicans made a good deal impossible by insisting that it had to be heavily lopsided to favor US interests. Kim Jong Il refused to be thusly humiliated and thereby went ahead and produced a nuclear bomb. Again, the perfect is the enemy of the good.

This is why political commentary is difficult these days. I completely disagree with the President on the TPP and Fast Track. but he's 100% correct on how Fox News covers poor people. It all depends on the particular issue we're talking about. Rush Limbaugh demands to know when Fox has ever used terms like “sponges” and “leeches” to describe the poor. Jon Stewart obliges and produces those exact terms being used by Fox.

Good piece on the recent ruling on NSA surveillance. On the section concerning "Relevance," it's good to keep in mind the "Pizza Hut connection." Back in the early 2000s, law-enforcement authorities were continually sent on wild goose chases. Suspect A and Suspect B would both make calls to a phone number. "Bwah-hah!" the NSA reasoned, the phone number must belong to Suspect C, who must be one step up in the chain of command shared by A & B. Actually, C was usually a fast-food delivery place and both A & B would have similar tastes in delivery food. This wasted a hue amount of time and resources.

Jeb Bush says he would have gone to war against Iraq even knowing what we know now. Jeb belongs nowhere near the Oval Office! G.W. Bush didn't make mistakes in the intel concerning Iraq. He wanted to invade Iraq well before he took office. There was never a time when he was actually hesitating or truly analyzing the intel. We went to war based on consciously, deliberately told lies. Jebyn defends his comment, saying that he would have re-produced his brother's catastrophe. He claims the real problem began with the occupation of Baghdad, which yes I agree, was horribly done and the war was waged in a reasonably competent manner up until then. Of course, the failure to secure the ammo dump at Al Qaqaa was a major screw-up and it was due to not having enough troops to stay behind and guard it. Jeb claims through a spokesperson that he misheard th question. There's video of Megyn Kelly asking the question. Not plausible that he didn't hear her properly.

Comment on the really horrid state of tunnels that go from NJ to NYC: "That it isn't a priority for Christie shows how little he understands the economy of his own state (or doesn't care). Northern New Jersey is increasingly a bedroom community for NYC. Sure there will still be the PATH trains, but take out the NJT/Amtrak tunnels and you have serious problems."

Russia celebrates the 70th anniversary of VE Day..

For Bernie Sanders to raise as much money as he did, as quickly after his announcement as he did, is significant and should cause Hillary Clinton some concern. Meet The Press, as usual, falls down on the job and fails to cover him (Chuck Todd complains about FAIR's criticism and their response is worth reading).

Very not good! Passing 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere is not a one-time thing, the amount goes up and down. For the month of March 2015, the world sustained the level of 400ppm all month long. 350ppm is the preferred concentration of CO2.

Yeah, the author of “Clinton Cash” is obviously getting desperate for credibility. The statistic that "only 10% of the Clinton Foundation money goes to other organizations" is accurate and sounds really awful until you realize that the Foundations carries out most of its charity work itself. They don't outsource their charity work, they perform the work directly.

Behold! Trickle-down economics at work! “[Governor Scott] Walker set up the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in 2011 in order to give taxpayer dollars to private corporations to help them create jobs for Wisconsin workers. But a new audit of more than 100 grants from the agency found that the WEDC failed to follow up on whether the companies were actually using the funds to create and retain jobs.”
"Here's million and millions of taxpayer dollars!" Years later "So, did you create any jobs with all that money?" "What? We were supposed to create jobs with it?"

Jebyn (Jeb Bush) makes major screw-up! He admits he takes advice on the Mideast from brother Dubya (G.W. Bush).

With the sole and lonely exception of Senator Tom Cotton (Leader of the #47Traitors), the Senate passed a bill to allow them 30 days to review a nuclear deal with Iran.

Five years after a brief mini-crash wiped out nearly $1 trillion in stock wealth, the stock market still can't fix the problem that caused that crash. Part of the problem is that the stock market conducts up to 58 billion trades a day by over 100 million actors. Putting in a tax of $0.001 per trade would not only make high-speed trading unprofitable, but would produce needed revenue from people who could easily afford it.

Poor Speaker Boehner! He's just convinced, convinced, I tell you!, that the ACA/Obamacare has failed and is making things tough on both consumers and especially employers. That gol-durned reality though! It keeps getting in the way of his talking points! A blogger takes a look at various predictions made about the ACA. The opposition party was way off!

NBC News is reporting two suspects dead and a security guard wounded at a so-called "free speech" event in Garland, Texas. The event was sponsored by Pamela Geller's American Freedom Defense Initiative. Briefing on who Pam Geller is. Any evidence that ISIS was involved with the shootings in Texas? Doesn't look like it. Appears that they're simply taking "credit" for it.

Tucker Carlson obviously works in an environment filled with "Beavis & Butthead" types. Guys, there are comments that should just remain private, y'know? People really don't need to know that you find a woman in the news to be attractive. Carlson seriously needs to hire some good editors that won't let this stuff out into the public eye.

Charles Murray is the author of "The Bell Curve." Jeb Bush "...added, I like Charles Murray books to be honest with you, which means I’m a total nerd I guess.'"
''As it happens, 'nerd' isn’t the first word that comes to mind."

“Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby issued criminal charges against police officers involved in the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray Jr.”

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Gang members emerge in Baltimore as rational, sensible peacemakers.

Very cool! The US consumes 1,100 gigawatts (GW) of power from all sources. We have 66 GW from wind power (48,000 turbines), with over 13 GW being built. Not enough. We need to build much more, but an excellent start!

Nuclear diplomacy with Iran is unpopular with Republicans in the Fox News bubble (Which of course includes all of the Republican presidential candidates), but is really quite popular in the rest of the country.

Very cool! The Pope is solidly on-board with trying to combat climate change! Best. Pope. Ever!

Approaching the 70th anniversary of VE Day, I did a lot of reading on World War II when I was a young'un. The American-British air war cost Germany very heavily prior to the Normandy Invasion, but yes, the Eastern Front took up an enormous amount of Nazi resources. The US also heavily supplied the Soviets, so not sure which front was "more" valuable in bringing the Nazis down. It was a joint effort.

The piece concludes with:
"What’s more, the Supreme Court’s ruling on the VRA came with a call from the majority justices for lawmakers to craft a new formula for federal scrutiny. There was, in other words, an expectation that Congress, which reauthorized the VRA repeatedly and easily over the decades, would respond to the court ruling with a revised policy.
"And yet, here are leading Senate Republicans effectively responding, two years later, 'Nah, let’s not bother to do anything at all.'”

10,000 peaceful protesters in Baltimore and the media focuses on the dozens of violent people.

G.W. Bush speaks on Obama's policy on Iraq. Yeah, he really shouldn't have.

Clinton's position on TPP, while not as good as we'd like to see, is nevertheless better than it could have been. She's very much aware that progressives are opposed, so she's "closely watching" the situation with that.

As of April 24th, the Hubble Space Telescope has been in operation for 25 years. It's had five repair-and-maintenance missions.

25-year old black man Freddie Gray dies in police custody in Baltimore. With a peaceful protest of over 4,000 marchers, a few destructive individuals grab the spotlight and the media presents them as representative of the protesters. “I asked the clergy what they thought of the State of Emergency that the Governor declared,” Weiner said. From Think Progress: “They said there has been a State of Emergency way before tonight in Baltimore City, an emergency in poverty, lack of jobs [and] disenfranchisement from the political process.” Round-up piece on Baltimore.

Two reasons we don't adopt a flat tax: 1. With a flat tax of 17%, the top 1% pays less, everybody else pays more, sometimes much more. 2. There's a separate reason for each and every tax break. Every single one of them can be separately defended and justified. You can't simply eliminate all of them.

Jeb Bush has a serious campaigning problem. People already know him, so he doesn't need to introduce himself. Problem is, they don't like him. If people dont know him, thats a problem that money can solve. Not likin him? Ehh, not so much.

Well, good! Obama wants to really get down and defend TPP, let's go ahead and have that debate. But when he says the text of TPP isn't a secret, wel-l-l-l, that's not quite true. Unless "highly restricted" doesn't mean "secret," I have to wonder what he means.

At a time when climate change is a real and growing problem, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says his top priority is to “Get the EPA reined in.”

Had an online discussion the other day where the other fellow told me about some right-wing economic theories:
“A fact is that almost no one paid those 90% tax rates. A fact is that rich americans are paying more of the % of income taxes AND a bigger percentage of their total personal income than they did in the 1950's.”
How likely is it that either of these "facts" are true, that these theories have any validity? Funny story, actually (or it would be funny if so many people weren't suffering from crappy economic theories), this piece makes it clear that right-wing economic theories are really pretty useless when they're tried out in the real world. Also, the total tax burden for each income quintile is between 15% and 35% for all three authorities, federal, state and local.

Finally! Loretta Lynch, who was nominated as the new Attorney General on 8 Nov 2014, is now in office as of 23 Apr 2015.

“The JFK assassination, Iran-Contra, Watergate, and 9/11 all had shorter investigations.” House Republicans put out a report on Benghazi in April 2013. It was entirely appropriate that an investigation be done, but none of the investigation since then have added anything substantial to the story. Of course they're going to wait until just before the election to release another report, when they hope to have an electoral impact.

An anti-Hillary Clinton book is released. MMFA says: "The author of the new anti-Clinton book has been dismissed as a writer of 'neither journalism nor history.' No wonder Fox likes him." MMFA focuses here on the author's past lack of credibility. By the time that the book was put out as a Kindle edition, numerous errors and inaccuracies had been removed. One of the major problems wit the book was that the book regarded contributions to the Clinton Foundation as equivalent to contributions to a Clinton political campaigns or as benefiting the Clintons as individuals. There's no evidence that either is true. I find that the NY Times and the WaPo going all in on the new Clinton "expose" to be very troubling as the author is a far-right author with very thin journalistic credentials. People have investigated his work and found it full of both questionable judgments and outright lies. Were I running the newspapers in question, I would have isisted that the book be thoroughly investigated first and then put my paper's credibility on the line. As it is, they've announced how much their credibility is worth. Nothing.

The lawmaker who proposes blocking the bill that ends parental rights for the rapists who make rape survivors into parents says “It’s a far more complicated situation, honestly, than most people acknowledge."
No. No, there's absolutely nothing the slightest bit "complicated" about a rapist seeking to get parental rights for the child who was born as the result of an act of violence. A rapist should not have any rights in the situation whatsoever under any possible set of an even slightly conceivable circumstances. Anyone who suggests granting any such rights is no better, is not the slightest bit more moral, than the rapist. Of course, Rep. Paul Ryan has absolutely zero problems granting similar rights to rapists. He has introduced a bill that calls for rapist to be able to prevent the women they rape from having an abortion. That means that if you get raped, you can be forced to carry your rapist's child to term. And gee, wow, surprise, surprise! Who woulda thunk it? Sexist attitudes and being “pro-life” go hand-in-hand.

Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks examines what a bombing of Iran would really be like! Senator Cotton hugely underestimates how easy and quick and cheap the operation would be.

“Conservative talk radio host Michael Savage said last week that veterans with PTSD are a bunch of crybabies who should act like men and stop complaining...” Just for the life of me can't understand how someone who "never heard a shot fired in anger" like the lifelong civilian Michael Savage, can possibly have the sheer, brazen gall to criticize soldiers who have faced more lethal danger in a single day than he has all through his life.

BREAKING NEWS!!! Job-killing, undemocratic #FastTrack bill just raised from the dead & introduced in Congress! TPP will have the same bad effects that NAFTA had, probably just worse. Putting it on a "Fast Track" is a way to make a bad situation even worse. Good to see that opposition to Fast Track for the TPP is broad and deep.

No, this is completely unacceptable. A wanted man was run down with a car, damaging the car and running the very real risk of killing the suspect. If the fellow was a mass murderer and still armed, maybe, possibly, it could be justified. But no, this is a seriously unacceptable means of stopping someone.

Heh! Governor Chrisite said he and his wife were "not wealthy" while complaining of the complexity of their tax returns. Erm, the two of them make $700,000 a year, which is not just in the top 1%, but in the top 0.8%!

So again, the Senate confirmation of Loretta Lynch is being delayed indefinitely. Republicans want to extend the reach of the anti-choice Hyde Amendment to apply to non-taxpayer dollars. This is unacceptable, so the Human Trafficking bill AND the Loretta Lynch nomination to Attorney General will go nowhere until Democrats agree to unacceptable terms.

All right [/snark]! Woo hoo! Way to go, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo! Spends $28 million on an ad campaign to get businesses to inhabit special tax-free zones, costing lots of money to local communities and ends up with a whopping 76 jobs! No, that's not a misprint. He didn't create 76,000 or even 7600 jobs, he created 76. Oh, and just in case anyone tries to tell you that Senator Rubio (R-FL) came up with a great health care plan, he achieved similar results. Florida has invested $2.4 million in his plan and it's helped 80 people. Not 800 or 8000, 80.

Interesting analysis. Jebyn has the money and establishment votes pretty much locked up, but combines very high name recognition with very high negatives. Everybody knows him, no one likes him. Actually, according to polling, Senator Rubio seems to have about the best chance of the whole Republican field.

Paul Krugman reminds us that, although there are indeed too many points of similarity between major party positions on a number of issues, there are still very substantive issues on which Rs & Ds disagree. Democrats seeks to preserve major programs like Social Security, Medicare, the Affordable Care Act and the Consumer Protection Agency. Republicans would like to see all of these eliminated or cut way back or turned into voucher programs.

This is why I just can't take the "superior professionalism" of the traditional media over bloggers seriously. CNN says Senator Rubio is "a son of Cuban exiles." No, Rubio's parents left Cuba two years prior to Castro's revolution. They left the island seeking a better life. CNN's editors are either asleep on the job or the writers have no idea what they're writing about.

Home-state Senator writes an op-ed for the local paper on nuclear negotiations with Iran. I respond.

In making he announcement that she was running for President, Hillary Clinton also announced what her policy priorities were (small business, climate change and clean energy). Those policy priorities were a pretty big deal. To their shame and disgrace, the traditional media pretty much ignored her priorities.

Very happy to see this! A proposal was made to allow police to decide when those who wanted to film the police in action would have to observe a zone and would have to stay a certain distance away. This was an awful and completely unnecessary idea. It also meant a serious conflict of interest. Who would be in charge of enforcing the proper zones? Obviously, the very same police who the filmers were trying to keep accountable!

Uuh...what!?!?! Netanyahu fears that the “Iranians will keep to every letter in the agreement if indeed one is signed at the end of June,” and that, in 10 to 15 years, will then build a bomb. I dunno, I think I'm more than willing to sign the treaty and then take that chance.

The problem with the way in which lots of rich people make more money is that ther methods frequently enrich only themselves, without providing any benefit to anyone else.

The blogger makes an excellent point, that the heavy hand of the oppressive government that Ronald Reagan talked about is far more theoretical than real. For instance, if the big, bad, awful, evil deficit was really all that big a problem, why is almost no one aware that it's half the size that it was six years ago? Also, Rand Paul shares a problem with Senators Rubio and Cruz. None of them have pased bills of any significance.

As a blogger said about Rand Paul's announcement, "No one was on needles and pins" waiting for the announcement on the trial of Dzhokar Tsarnaev. Glad to see he got an unequivocally guilty verdict. Now a trial will be held to determine the sentence. As he was found guilty of three murders, I think Life is the minimum we'll see.

Nope. Sorry. Wrong answer. Senator Cotton is completely insane if he thinks bombing Iran's nuclear facilities would be just like Clinton bombing Iraq in 1998. Iran has vastly many more retaliatory capabilities than Iraq did back then! Yes, like Rumsfeld in 2003, Cotton is full of optimism. Also, was the bombing of 1998really such a grand idea? Or did it make the 2003 war inevitable?

Wow! Senator Paul has had four YEARS to assemble his campaign and after only one day, it's already a complete trainwreck! Especially troubling is the issue of copyrights. G.W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney also all had great troubles with getting permissions from artists before using their songs. Paul's campaign video was pulled because it violated copyrights from TWO different artists! Jennifer Rubin, a conservative WaPo columnist, makes a good case that Rand will do even less well at the ballot box than his father did. I especially agree with her point #1, that although liberals like some of his positions, like legalizing pot, no one in the Democratic Party is going to cross party lines just to vote for Paul. But what's also really sad is that the media feels obliged to try and build him up anyway, even if that means presenting an essentially false picture of someone who supports diversity and inclusiveness.

The Young Turks get very heated here and I don't blame them a bit! Charter schools are the real problem.

A former Israeli Chief of Military Intelligence says nuclear deal with Iran is a reasonably good one. And no, Obama is not going to insist that Iran recognize Israel before the nuclear deal is made. Hmm, appears Netanyahu is your standard, basc, deficit scold, someone who favors poverty and misery for a category of people. The distinction between him and Amercian defici scolds is that Amerciasn want that for the non-rich, Netanyahu just wants that for Palestinians. And no, I'm not a knee-jerk pro-Arab. Unfortunately, Senator Schumer, whom Harry Reid has nominated as his Senate Minority Leader replacement is taking a very bad position on the deal.

Michael Gerson, who served in the G.W. Bush Administration, offers advice as to how Obama could have negotiated a better nuclear deal. Erm, slight problem with that, the Bush Administration was a complete failure at getting any diplomatic progress from the Iranian regime.

Judith Miller defends her reporting work during the run-up to the Iraq War. This piece takes a close look at the actual conduct of Hans Blix, whom Miller paints as an accuser of Saddam Hussein. Also, former CIA agent Valerie Plame contributes her take.

I looked into a right-winger's complaints about the nuclear deal with Iran. Really weak sauce!

Ordinary Iranians take to the streets as though they'd just won a football (soccer over here) match, honking car horns and waving flags.

So let's say you're being forced to make a gay wedding cake. During the Renaissance, Reformation and early modern eras, painters would perform what they call "commercial art," that is, they'd do a painting of a noble-person whose portrait was more dashing or prettier than the actual person really was. The artists couldn't go whining about how their free speech was being violated. Just so with cake-makers and same-sex weddings.

Updates from The Guardian on the framework for a nuclear deal with Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu is very unhappy with it, but he was demanding things that simply weren't going to happen.

Let's please keep in mind that "freedom of religion" doesn't just mean that it applies to just the anti-GLBT groups. There are many very sincerely religious groups with really awful beliefs.

Good grief! Jebyn (Jeb Bush) is so against inequality that he appointed what's probably the single worst person in the country to lead the charge on this. This economist produced the '01 and '03 Bush tax cuts (very heavily weighted to benefit the wealthy, the wealthier they were, the more they benefited) and opposes the minimum wage hike that most of us want.

D'oh! Oops! A Fox News host said to not be silly, Indiana businesses would never discriminate, right after which an Indiana business did just that.

I've made this point many times, but it always bears repeating when we're talking about nuclear negotiations with Iran. A war with Iran would be enormously expensive! It isn't anywhere near as simply as just bombing them.

Horrible! 16 states have more people in prison than in college dorms. This is what is all about, the fact that the number of prisoners is even comparable to the number of college students is a scandal in and of itself.

Cenk Uygur of the Young Turks does a final report on the killing of Michael Brown, concluding that there are many things we'll simply never know.

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Very, very interesting. White and black suspects get arrested for same crime, black suspects are pictured in mugshots, white suspects are pictured using their yearbook photos.

Very happy to see that, while the public is quite skeptical of the nuclear talks with Iran succeeding, they're also quite supportive of those talks. The viewpoints of Speaker Boehner and Prime Minister Netanyahu appear to be growing increasingly irrelevant.

The Daily Beast says: "Even the director of the CIA under Bush said that the Bush administration explored but ultimately rejected a military strike on Iran, concluding it would only 'guarantee that which we are trying to prevent—an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon and that would build it in secret.'”
So what does John Bolton advocate? A military strike on Iran, of course!
In a lengthy piece that's well worth reading. John Bolton and others are trying to make a strike on Iran sound easy and painless. It wouldn't be. It would make the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan look like picnics in the park.

Really sad TV interview FAIL! Indiana's Governor Pence thinks it's "deeply troubling" that people are engaged in a "gross mis-characterization" of Indiana's pro-discrimination law. Pence dances furiously around George Stephanopoulo's straightforward questions and refuses to give an honest, straightforward answer.

Being a hedge fund billionaire doesn't necessarily make you incompetent at other things, but it doesn't automatically follow that you're any good at anything else, either. Hedge fund billionaires do not have any special qualifications to run charter schools for the benefit of either the students or for the community at large.

In defense of “lesser-evil incrementalism.”

Republican Governor Mike Pence of Indiana signed an anti-LGBT bill (Mar 26) that was euphemistically termed a “religious liberty” bill. The bill resembled a bill that President Clinton signed In 1994, and Pence claimed that "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way in Indiana, I would have vetoed it," but this whole “religious freedom” reaction is deeply discriminatory and tramples all over the rights of both non-believers and those of the people who are of a different faith. Reaction is furious as denunciations of Indiana's actions hit number one on Twitter.

So, five years after the ACA/Obamacare was signed into law, how about the conservative predictions for it? Nah, none of them occurred.

Missouri lawmakers prohibit food stamp recipients from buying steak or seafood. Some of the prohibitions make some sense, but the word “steak” is vague and can mean a lot of things. A prohibition on seafood?!?!?! But that's healthy eating! I can understand you don't want people trading in food stamps/EBT money for booze, but c'mon! People have to have SOME enjoyable things!

Senator McCain says: “The least of your problems are what Bibi Netanyahu said in a political campaign.” No. No I don't agree at all. When people are stressed out and feel they have a lot on the line, that's exactly when they slip up and tell the truth. I think Obama and his people have it exactly right. They're taking Netanyahu's word for it that he doesn't want a two-state solution. At all. Ever.

A blog looks at a WaPo editorial that determinedly takes a "both sides do it" point of view, ignoring, of course, the fact that the Human Trafficking bill fundamentally expands Hyde Amendment language. That's not a debatable point and it's not just "what Democrats claim...". It's what The Guardian points out, that the Hyde Amendment is normally applied on a provisional, year-by-year basis. The way the Human Trafficking bill is currently written, the language applies more permanently. The picture is of Bush signing anti-choice legislation. Note the "diversity" of the people observing him do so.

Jeb Bush proves to be a complete and utter hypocrite concerning Hillary Clinton's email problem.

Voters March across Phily.

This is very good news. A Representative once supported the Simpson-Bowles "Catfood Commission" and voters remember that and he realizes that this is a strong negative that he has to work to overcome it. Once, this was a plan that was favored inside the Beltway. Now, it's a serious liability.

Loretta Lynch has waited 132 days (As of March 20th) for confirmation as the new Attorney General, other presidential nominees have waited longer, but for an Attorney General nominee, that's pretty much unprecedented. Unfortunately, Republicans report receiving "zero pressure" to confirm her expeditiously.

Heh! The return of the "magic asterisk"! Back during the Reagan Administration, the President's people promised to get the budget reduced by a certain amount, but had several billion to go, so they put in an asterisk with the reference saying "Savings to be determined." So now, Republicans are saying $1.1 trillion is to come out of "other mandatory spending," obviously "to be determined."

So is Jebyn (Jeb Bush) a wonk? Compared to his brother Dubya and the other Republicans running for President, yes. Does his wonkishness compare favorably to that of any of the Democrats or of academics like Paul Krugman or Juan Cole? No.

Well, I watched the interview and yes, Iran is a terrible country and no, we don't want them to get nukes. But Senate Majority Leader McConnell ignores that a better deal just isn't available. We simply don't have the option of forcing Iran to accept a complete dismantling of their nuclear program.

"I'm as far from being a racist as you can get." Eep! (Buzzer sound) Wrong answer! When you see a blatantly racist post and think to yourself: “I must share this with my friends! This is too good to pass up," you're a racist.

There are many issues where I'm in tight agreement with the President. TPP is one where there's LOTS of daylight between him, me and progressives generally. I stand with progressives on this. This is a piece where a pro-TPP group starts off their pitch by saying something that earns them "Four Pinocchios" from the Washington Post fact-checker.

Unfortunately, eGhazi (a -Ghazi is not a -Gate, it's far less serious) bears a serious resemblance to Whitewater. It started with serious misrepresentations and, at best, sloppy and badly-researched reporting and in both case, the NY Times is the culprit. Let's hope that eGhazi stops right here.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus has been putting out its own budget proposals for some time now. Will this be the year the media finally acknowledges that?

Good! My old hometown of Boston has finally said the heck with it and will allow gay and lesbian groups to march in their St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Not at all surprising that a voter fraud investigation turned up pretty much nothing. A Justice Department investigation from 2002 to 2005 also turned up pretty much nothing. I watched a Fox News mini-debate before the 2012 election with Megyn Kelly presiding between a liberal and a conservative. The liberal said there had been fewer than 100 cases of voter fraud in the previous decade. Both Kelly and the conservative nodded and moved on to the next topic in the debate. Voter fraud is not completely nonexistent, but it's about as common as people dying of lightning strikes.

Very cool! Strong net neutrality rules now put into place!

NY Times demonstrates its bad faith and double-dealing by the way it describes Clinton's use of a non state(dot)gov email address. They say she had "wiggle room" because there was no official rule saying she had to use one. No, that's not what "wiggle room" means. She didn't have to use one! That should be in the first paragraph of any story about this!

There are many issues where I'm in tight agreement with the President. TPP is one where there's LOTS of daylight between him and progressives generally. I stand with progressives on this. This is a piece where a pro-TPP group starts off their pitch by saying something that earns them "Four Pinocchios" from the Washington Post fact-checker.

Excellent piece and it reminds me of when I looked into the White House Travel Office firings back in the 90s. President Clinton had a travel office that was staffed by all Republicans. He decided one day to relieve them all of their duties and to replaced them all with Democrats. He had every right to do this and, under any previous president, would have provoked a one paragraph piece on page 13, if that. There were actually Congressional hearings on the matter and papers actually wrote front-page pieces on it. The press was wildly irresponsible during that period and really needs to do better now.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), offers a counter-idea to the deal that the Obama Administration has been negotiating with Iran: “complete nuclear disarmament by Iran.” Erm, considering that Iran doesn't possess any nuclear weapons right now, how exactly would that work? Cotton later clarified that to mean that Iran should completely disassemble all of its nuclear-arms-making capability. This is no longer 1945 or even 1989, when the US found itself as the lone great power standing and could simply dictate terms to everyone.

Heh! So "Jebyn" is now a thing. Lefty commenters looked at "Jebya" after "Dubya" and decided that was too clunky, so Jebyn it is!

Good! Iran takes sensible view of letter by #47Traitors. Also, as of Apr 3rd, the petition to have traitorous Senators charged with violating the Logan Act has almost 320,000 signatures (100,000 needed to demand that White House take action). NY Daily News calls it correctly, that 47 Senators are traitors.

I read Gary Sick's book "All Fall Down" and when he says that a failed nuclear deal between Iran and the US would be disastrous, I would take his advice VERY seriously!

Wow! The hashtag #47Traitors is created. Nothing incorrect about what Republicans are saying to Iran, that a future president might revoke an agreement that this president makes, but the sheer, willful destructiveness of the comment speaks volumes about the status of the old "politics stops at the water's edge" feeling that Americans used to have.

Yeah, what did ever happen to all of that enthusiasm for over the counter birth control among anti-choicers? Funny how that issue disappeared right after the election!

Unfortunately, Republican lawmakers are a bit interested in restoring the Voting Rights Act, but their interest is of a casual and mild variety. They don't feel any sense of urgency.

Pretty amazing that, out of the Senate Majority Leader, the Speaker of the House, the House Majority Leader and the House Majority Whip, the only high-ranking Republican to make it to Selma this weekend for the 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday” was the Majority Leader and his decision to go was obviously a hurried, last-minute one. Yeah, the article's headline is right, GOP minority outreach is dead.

Very cool! A major bank smack dab in the heart of the Middle East oil industry decides oil can't economically compete with solar!

More on Hillary Clinton's email troubles. I agree with the blogger here. I'm not really concerned about whether what Clinton did was legal or not. But for a public figure to not engage in good computer security practices is very foolish. As the blogger says: “I have three separate email accounts- one for work, one for personal/political/this website, and one for finances/online purchases. You segregate stuff, and work stuff stays in work. And it’s for MY protection, most of the time.” If my dad thinks that anything he does online might result in the receipt of spam, he uses that third type of account. If I have any information that's confidential, it doesn't go on Facebook. I keep it in personal, face-to-face conversations or in my private email account.

The headline to the piece is “Boehner outfoxes his critics.” Hmm, no, I think I agree with the blogger who linked to this piece instead of with the author. Speaker Boehner was dealt a really crappy hand. A smart player would have folded almost immediately. Boehner folded in the end with nothing to show for it, but kept dragging things out for three interminable weeks. Also, counting votes is his job. Getting taken by surprise by how your own caucus votes demonstrates a serious lack of competence. Is Boehner's job in jeopardy? Who cares? Very sad when hanging onto your job is all you can claim. -

Lengthy, interesting piece. I've long felt that addiction was a whole lot more complicated than just a matter of chemical reactions. This thesis is very consistent with the comical book works of Neil Gaiman, who strongly emphasizes free will and human desire when it comes to explaining human actions.

Hmm, interesting perspective. By making the strongest possible, but familiar and easily criticized case, Netanyahu may have demonstrated that Obama's course of action is right after all.

Excellent argument against Fast Track and in favor of a better trade policy.

Yes, I agree that the other party has been extremely casual about the use of emails, from Mitt Romney deliberately destroying them from his Governors' days to Karl Rove doing important government business on RNC emails. That being said, yes I also find Hillary Clinton's conducting the government's business with her private email account to be very troubling. There are many good and sound reasons to confine government business to government email accounts, better security being a big one.

So, how was the big speech? [Netanyahu to Congress] J Street was unimpressed.

In contrast to Charles Krauthammer's piece in the Inky (Philadelphia Inquirer) yesterday that was filled with anonymous quotes, here's another view of the Iranian nuclear deal.

It was clear back in 2011 that Speaker Boehner could pass meaningful, substantial bills, but that he had to marginalize the Tea Party (Or nowadays, the “Freedom Caucus”) in order to do so. Two months into his third term, it's clear that the same analysis holds true today. He simply can't get anything done by depending on the Tea Party.

I went to this article about a CBS person interviewing Speaker Boehner for another reason, but was very taken aback by Boehner's repeated insistence that President Obama has exceeded his powers concerning immigration. As evidence, he cited “22 times” that Obama himself said he didn't have any such power. No. Sorry, but I saw those 22 instances when they were first produced. Obama didn't say he couldn't take independent actions on immigration, he said that he preferred not to. Big difference.

There are a few cases here and there where Chief Justice Roberts has tried to reach for a true compromise and has taken at least some liberal arguments into account, but overall, nah, he's a very right-wing jurist who pushes the court decisively to the right on many questions. He dreams of non-partisanship? Not as far as I can see and the piece doesn't really support such a thesis.

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Kate Couric does an extremely poor job of interviewing Senator Rand Paul. Paul made the inaccurate claim that the Ambassador in Libya repeatedly requested assistance prior to #Benghazi!!! He did no such thing and Couric should have pointed that out. Paul also said he'd arm the Kurds and create a Kurdish state. A competent interviewer would have brought up Turkey, which has a large Kurdish population and would not favor a Kurdish state. .

Congressional Republicans prove themselves to be really crappy poker players. Tea Party folks wanted to hold a fifth utterly useless, meaningless vote.

Leonard Nimoy passes away at 83. One of the first cool science geeks. He will be missed. One of his last tweets.

Woo hoo! FCC votes to keep the Internet free and open to all!

Ugh! Auugh! The stupid! It bu-u-u-r-nssss!!!!! Senator Marco Rubio says that President Obama is not fighting ISIS because he's afraid of offending Iran. Iran is *on* *the* *same* *side* as the US in fighting ISIS!!!!

Secretary of State John Kerry reminds us that Netanyahu supported the Iraq War, showing that his judgment's not all that great.

Patricia Arquette makes a plea at the Oscars for equal pay fo women. Various progressives get all snotty and judgmental about her leaving other groups out. Which, yeah, okay, I agree with this. Her wording wasn't perfect, she could have been better, more inclusive, etc. But Young Turks had a good discussion on her comments both during and after the Awards Ceremony.

Heh! On the eve of another government shutdown, this tweet concerns the recent admission by Boehner and McConnell that they haven't spoken to each other in weeks. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi 'helpfully” send them each other's phone number. What's amazing about this piece on last night's vote on Homeland Security funding is that the Congressional Republican Party in general are just really, REALLY crappy poker players! The Tea Party people wanted to hold a fifth vote on their hostage-taking when the previous four votes failed miserably. They don't appear to have any sot of back-up strategy

This has all the earmarks of a James O'Keefe scam, he of the ACORN takedown. Please note that when the first PP person is questioned about aborting an African-American child, her concern is with assisting the mother, NOT with having one less black baby in the world. 

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu refuses to meet with Democrats when he arrives to give a speech to a joint session of Congress. Which I consider very uncool! It's a very foolish move on Netanyahu's part as it makes the partisan nature of his visit crystal clear. Before this, I just blamed Speaker Boehner for inviting him, but this just makes the insult to the President very clear.

Excellent! A voting rights amendment would shift the burden of proof to those who wanted to restrict voting in the name of combating this almost completely non-existent "voter fraud." 

Bill O'Reilly and yes, Brian Williams, have dishonored themselves and their stations by pretending to be more heroic then they actually were. NBC did the right thing in the Brian Williams case. Fox? It's your turn.
Update: With half of the public being aware of the controversy over O"Reilly's truthfulness, only 35%> of them are still suportive.

Augh!What is wrong with people? Throwing out perfectly good books that libraries can use? Taking sledgehammers to 3,000 year old statues? Heartsick!

From the piece: "Both Harvard and the Smithsonian acknowledge that the climate is changing because of rising levels of greenhouse gas concentrations caused by human activities." But Willie Soon worked for Harvard-Smithsonian, so he was able to "rent out the nameplate" for use by fossil fuel climate change deniers.

Giuliani continues to stand by his hysterical, overheated statements that were clearly intended to make President Obama an "other," an "outsider," someone who is clearly "not one of us." In his latest defense, he not surprisingly fails to specify what exactly it was that Obama did or said that was so terribly offensive.

Charles Krauthammer demonstrates complete, utter, absolute, unmitigated hypocrisy concerning the Senate filibuster. Once, it was a fine and noble and necessary thing. Now that Democrats are using it against Republicans, it is awful and terrible and completely unnecessary.

Republicans Governors report, correctly, that the GOP simply has no alternative if ACA subsidies are taken out of the ACA. The ACA would more or less just plain collapse. Keep in mind that Rep. Ryan has no intention of fixing the legislation (Which would involve changing a single sentence in the law). Ryan: "The idea is not to make ObamaCare work better or to actually authorize ObamaCare,” The Chief Economist for the Heritage Foundation tries, and fails miserably, to prove that the ACA/Obamacare has been bad for America.

Excellent piece about word choices and inspiring the troops/citizens/workers.

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says we're “losing” the War On Terror. Not that Rumsfeld ever makes it clear what "winning" means in the WOT. He just delivers a lot of vague, fuzzy pronouncements that don't make much sense.

Bill O'Reilly uses his program to defend himself against charges that he lied when he said he was in the Falkland Islands, covering the war there. He did indeed make that claim a few times. Yes, he covered riots in Argentine after the war, but that hardly counts as being in a “war zone,” which usually means being around where heavy weapons are being used on two sides.

Good! AP US History will be taught! Colorado has dropped its objections, probably because the rest of the country was pointing and laughing at them.

I completely agree with the interviewer here (Though to say that she "rips" him is a bit of a theatrical exaggeration). This Congressman is full of complaints about Obama's strategy in the Middle East, but doesn't appear to have the slightest idea of how to do better.

Jeb Bush is "His own man," eh? Funny how he's hired so many people who got America into Iraq. BTW, Jeb was a member of PNAC.

Yeah, uh, Rick Perry ("Governor Goodhair" Molly Ivins called him, because whatever else you can say about him, he sure does have a good head of hair) doesn't really appear to know much about Abraham Lincoln's political views, especially about Lincoln's views on the proper role of government.

Observation on conservative "comedy."

Interesting statement articulating the structure of Obama's war on ISIS and other Islamic extremists. Yeah, he does the killing part, but is aware that that's insufficient, that we need to help build others up. Sadly, this person took a lot of grief for her statement, not because it was in any way wrong (The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mullen, said much the same thing on a different issue), but apparently just because she was a pretty blond female.

When Oklahoma lawmakers vote to ban Advanced Placement US History, that's when I think of the decline of America, not when people bring up sexual issues.

Speaker Boehner defends the House Benghazi Committee by going through a list of questions about that event, but all of those questions have been answered already.

Uh, no. Speaker Boehner, by arranging the Netanyahu speech, is NOT "strengthening the President's hand." He's sabotaging the President's foreign policy by making it clear that Congress will not honor a commitment by the United States to reward a good deal by lifting sanctions on Iran. Without a lifting of sanctions, Iran has no reason to make a deal on their weapons program. And then Boehner adopts a completely different position.

In a "tell-all," we learn that Obama was playing coy when he said he wasn't that enthusiastic about gay and lesbian marriage equality. But his predecessor pretended to give a damn about global warming. In fact, Christine Todd Whitman was talking about progressive environmental policies as though they were already fact. They weren't. Bush was lying.

Al Jazeera does a good roundup on the US-Israel relationship

If ACA/Obamacare subsidies are rendered non-operative, Rep. Ryan makes it clear that the GOP would be perfectly happy to see millions of people lose their health insurance.

A few months ago, a single Senator blocked a bill that would have prevented a number of veteran suicides. New bill just passed that will fix that problem.

Very serious concern raised about the Anti-ACA lawsuit that the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear. Do the plaintiffs have “standing”? Are they being hurt by the existence of the law?

Good comparison-contrast between the two great projects of the 21st Century, the attempt to copy Alexander the Great in the Middle East starting with Iraq versus the building of the ACA/Obamacare.

Don't agree with Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) calling herself a “combat veteran.” She's a veteran, yes, and she was in the theater of the Iraq War, but she was a REMF (Modern synonym is “pogue”) who was in Kuwait and never saw any combat.

Jon Stewart announces his retirement from the Daily Show. That show is “appointment TV” for me (I turn on the TV specifically to watch that particular show and turn it off when the show is over).

Jeb Bush screws up by publishing his entire email archives from his Florida Governor days. The archive includes communications from constituents that contain phone numbers, email addresses, Social Security numbers, etc.

Good! Papa John's pizza franchise in New York pays almost $800,000 in wage theft case.

On Senator Rand Paul, I'm in full agreement with the blogger here, it's not required for every politician to know every issue In detail, but no, the value of US currency did not change from the "Full Faith and Credit of the United States" to "used car loans, (etc.)." No such change was ever legislated. When one is speaking of the deficit, it kind of helps to know sort of, kind of, what the deficit is. Paul describes the deficit as being $1 trillion. Actually, it's less than half that. Thing is, these are his signature issues!!! These are the issues he's supposed to be an expert in!!!

All right! Queen Elizabeth II endorses marriage equality between gays and straights.

John Stossel of Fox News introduces the libertarian idea of "spontaneous order." Did it work in Iraq in 2003 after Baghdad fell? There may have been some of that, but there was nowhere near enough to prevent the city from getting thoroughly sacked and looted. The ministries and museums were all stripped and plundered to their bare walls. Unfortunately for reconstructing Iraq, a bureaucrat without an office is like a sailor without a ship. Pretty close to useless. Did Wal-Mart help in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina? Sure, but what they did was to deliver more goods, more quickly. They couldn't rescue people from rooftops, because doing that requires a standing force that's properly trained, equipped and organized. They could deliver more goods because they were already equipped and trained to do that.

The House Oversight Committee wants to know whether the Obama Administration exercised "improper influence" over the FCC. Slight problem with that. The FCC is an executive branch agency with no special built-in safeguards. What exactly constitutes "improper influence"?!?!?!

Three House Democrats announce they will skip speech by Netnyahu. From The Hill>: "This week, Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer and other top officials huddled with top Democrats at the Capitol, seeking to assuage concerns that the speech shouldn’t be taken as a slight to Obama." But that's the problem, it IS a slight, it's an intentional insult to Obama and Democrats are reacting appropriately.

If the Supreme Court rules against the ACA in the King v Burwell case, their reputation for impartiality and non-partisanship could be the first casualty.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's strategy for taking control of the Senate, that is, to oppose anything and everything, worked. But "If the [Republican] party’s aim is to [now] show Americans it is ready to govern, we are witnessing an epic fail."

It's now been 20 times that Republicans have promised to come up with a replacement for the ACA and 20 time they've come up empty, but they just now voted to repeal the ACA for the 54th time. One would think that, in a rational, sane legislature, that they'd come up with a replacement first and then vote to repeal the original version.

Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) made his reputation as a deficit scold, constantly lecturing Democrats on their spendthrift ways. Problem: his own budget figures have never added up and his latest budget is no exception (It adds $100 billion to the deficit).

And oh yeah, now that the Democrats are in the minority and are using the filibuster to block legislation, reporters at Politco suddenly notice, after six years of Republicans using the filibuster on a routine, everyday basis, that the filibuster is used to block legislation that the minority doesn't like.

The Utah State Representative was eventually persuaded to see reason and to join everybody else in declaring that having sex with an unconscious woman was rape (And yes, he's anti-choice), but yes, he initially argued that there should be an exception for married people.

Heh! Just yesterday, DKos ran a lengthy piece on how Republicans have been trying to convince people that they'll have a tax reform plan and a health care plan any day now, after FIVE YEARS of twiddling their thumbs. Here's the really fun part, Rep. Ryan is now in charge of both plans!

I usually don't have much use for Senator Rand Paul, but he actually had a good statement on Jeb Bush's youthful use of pot: "I think in politics the biggest thing, the thing that voters from any part of the spectrum hate worse than anything is hypocrisy. And hypocrisy is, 'Hey I did it and it's okay for me because I was rich and at an elite school but if you're poor and black or brown and live in a poor section of one of our big cities, we're going to put you in jail and throw away the key.'"
D'oh! Senator Paul just lost his cool point by shushing a female anchor. This is something that, really, only your mother can do. If you're anyone else and you do it, you look like an ass.

January                         back to top

Good! Cheerleading is a job like any other and needs to be compensated like any other. Cheerleaders should be able to retire from their careers with nice, comfortable checking accounts, not with impoverishment.

Boehner and McConnell deliver the most idiotically ridiculous criticisms of the ACA/Obamacare I've heard all day! From the Truman Administration (When American first considered a national health care plan) until 2008, capitalists and Republicans had a chance to produce their own health care plan and to run on it. They've had since 2010 to produce a fleshed-out, detailed alternative to the ACA. They've miserably failed. No one should have any faith that they'll provide an alternative after they've canceled everybody's current ACA health care plan. One of Boehner's criticisms is particularly idiotic, he complains that the ACA imposes a “one-size-fits-all solution.” What's his point? Does cancer treatment differ from Alabama to Alaska? Are the treatments for hernias different in Texas and Connecticut?

Disappointed to see that Obama strongly supports the TPP, but am pleased that most of my fellow progressives> agree with me that TPP is a truly awful idea. Lots of daylight between the President and the rest of us on this.

Fox media critic Howard Kurtz asks plaintively why the President won't trust the traditional mainstream news media to get his message out, why he feels obliged to talk to a bunch of dirty hippie bloggers (Actually vloggers in this case). Gee Howie, maybe because the mainstream media has been a miserable failure at carrying Obama's messages?

Very cool! With the victory of the Syriza Party, Greece moves away from failed economic policies and towards something better!

Woo hoo! Walmart repays $188 million to its employees for wage theft (failing to pay for overtime hours, rest breaks etc.)

Ralph Nader comes up with an awful idea, to which a blogger makes a very good point. Nothing wrong with making temporary, tactical alliances with ideological enemies (Liberal left with Libertarian right, left with corporations, etc.) but permanent alliances are unwise and impractical as they call for far too many compromises. Liberals and Libertarians are agreed that NSA spying is terrible and should be curbed or stopped, but liberals are not willing to give up the fight against global warming in order to stop NSA spying, not should they. That would be a horrible choice of priorities.

Jess McIntosh, a spokeswoman for EMILY's List, said of the bill that mandates medically unnecessary ultrasounds: "When you can't find a single woman to support a bill that affects only women, that bill is probably a terrible idea."

Good! It strikes me as entirely appropriate for Obama to refuse to treat Netanyahu as an official visitor. Netanyahu is not visiting as a guest of the President, he is visiting at the invitation of the opposition party. There's no need for the President to act as though the Israeli Prime Minister is there in any sort of official capacity. Obama is treating the visit as though Netanyahu were strictly a private-citizen tourist.

Good! Glad to see Pennsylvania's new Governor taking a no-nonsense, hard-line attitude towards his predecessor's last-minute appointments. There's no reason whatsoever why any appointments should be made by a lame-duck administration that's on its way out the door anyway.

Well, THAT'S pretty cool! The 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney agrees that global warming is real and needs to be solved. As I recall, he and Newt Gingrich both agreed that climate change was real and human-caused back during the 2012 campaign, but neither of them wanted to alienate Republican primary voters, so they both kept their lips sealed about it.

House Speaker John Boehner invites Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress. A professor says: "It's unprecedented. It's hitting below the belt. It's taking partisanship to a whole new level."

Anyone remember Kobane, that Kurdish city that was about to fall to ISIS any day now? Yup, still in Kurdish hands. The momentum and string of victories by ISIS has clearly stopped.

Ted Nugent, rock star and a member of the NRA Board of Directors, hugely exaggerates his popularity in terms of Facebook “likes.” No, he's not more popular than Taylor Swift (73 million “likes”) or Beyoncé (67 million), he's just got 2.3 million, not 28 million.

When I was younger, I heard a lot about conservatives wanting to go back to the 1950s. I've been saying for awhile that now they've set their sights on the Gilded Age (After the Civil War and before the Progressive Era). Proof? Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) criticizes the 1905 Lochner decision.

Republicans forget that they're still in a democracy and that being in the majority doesn't just mean they can just do whatever they jolly well please. They still have to consider minority sentiments. Republican female Representatives become so concerned about an extremist anti-choice bill that they block it, even though the annual protest marking the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade was in town. The bill was scuttled.

The recidivism rate refers to detainees at Guantanamo that were released and who then engaged in military actions against the US. Fox News and a US Senator claim the rate is 30%. Actually, out of 620 releases, 107 re-engaged and of those, 48 were killed or re-captured. Of those who re-engaged, 101 were released prior to early 2009, that is, during the last administration.

Fox News apologizes for repeatedly suggesting the existence of “no-go zones” that were reserved exclusively for Muslims and that Christians dared not go into. One of those supposed “zones” was Birmingham, England, a city that the mayor of Birmingham describes as only 22% Muslim. And yes, as CenkUygur shows, they made this assertion quite a few times. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal demonstrates he doesn't pay close attention to the news and repeats the “no-go zone” lie well after it's been disproven.

The not-at-all crazy Ben Carson gets confused about the rapid advance of ISIS in the middle of last year. Yes, they were motivated and the Iraqi Army was not, but American forces had largely departed about two years earlier, meaning no, it wasn't anything like the American Revolution. ISIS didn't defeat ”the most powerful and professional military force on the planet,” they defeated the force that America trained and equipped. Big difference.

Very interesting! Gun groups have claimed for years that "If only civilians had been armed..." but in this test, arming civilians doesn't do any good against attackers. This actually just confirms what we've known since at least the Medieval Era (And probably the Greek & Roman era), that a small, organized and combat-disciplined group can easily stand up to a much larger, disorganized mob.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is convinced, Convinced, I tell you!!!!, that trickle-down economics works. It doesn't. He's now raiding the education budget in order to make up for his tax cuts.

Boo! Hisss! Rand Paul disses people receiving Social Security Disability benefits (Full disclosure: I receive them).

Wow! Apparently, there's a really, really large amount of money going through the Federal Reserve that the Federal Reserve Inspector General doesn't seem to know anything about!

I don't agree that it's "brave" to carry the child of a rapist, I don't see anything noble or courageous about that, but I do agree that when in 31 states, that the rapist is able to claim parental rights, that's deeply sick and immoral. When you build a father or a family on top of rape, an act of hatred and violence, you're absolutely guaranteeing failure.

Oh, puh-leeeezz!!!! People, nothing is "Obama's Katrina"!!! Nothing Obama has done or has not done is even remotely comparable to allowing an American city to be underwater!
These people are just absolutely desperate to find equivalences where there are none.

What? Still more surveillance?!?!?! People are calling for still more surveillance to prevent attacks as happened in France? The Senate Intel Committee concluded that surveillance did absolutely nothing to protest Americans before or after 9/11, in fact, a woman CIA person was identified who received early intel on 9/11 and did nothing. No, more surveillance isn't the answer to anything.

Diversity is not a strong suit of the GOP either. After the House appointed 21 white men and one white woman to head committees, how did the Senate do? white men and two white women.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! President Obama is now being termed an “obstructionist” by Fox News. Hmm, after six straight years of never-ending obstruction, are the supporters of Republican Senators lacking self-awareness much?

Yes, the comments after this piece are shocking in their racism and ignorance. And yes, this is yet another example of there being no good sources among the traditional media. There are better ones and worse ones, but no really satisfactory ones.

Senator Marco Rubio: "It is hard for me to imagine retiring at 65 and spending the next quarter century not working. I expect to be working, doing something productive and fulfilling."
The piece has a good criticism of that, but I would add that in FDR's day, and today, the human body begins to break down in one's mid-60s. It's a nice idea that everyone will be healthy and vigorous up until their 90s, but that's not a realistic plan for anyone.”

Hmm, very interesting. Republicans have apparently decided to play the populist card, to pretend that they give a damn about income inequality. That puts the issue on the table, which is obviously a good thing, no matter how cynical the motivating reason is. Democrats are certainly guilty on this score (making income inequality worse), but Republicans have pushed to shift incomes to the wealthy much more energetically than Democrats have.

NAACP headquarters gets bombed in Colorado. Social media lights up with commentary about it, traditional media mostly silent. Thought this was an issue that was long since settled.

Yeah, in this Jimmy Kimmel men-on-the-street interviews segment, we can see that people know what's of immediate importance to them. If something doesn't really affect them, they're not so sure about it.

Sorry, but former PA Senator Rick Santorum doesn't appear to know much in the way of history. “Separation of Church and State” came LONG before communism.

"Liberal Massachusetts Rep. Mike Capuano incensed the moderates when he said if Democrats support rolling back Dodd-Frank regulations, 'you might as well be a Republican.'”
Pretty flippin' obvious observation to have to make!

Cartoonist Joe Sacco's thoughts on the terrorist attack in France.

Speaker "Boehner told reporters today, 'We’ve got to find a way to deal with America’s crumbling infrastructure,'”
Well, there's a very, simple and easy way to do that, gas prices are really low and the gas tax hasn't been increased for two decades. But Boehner doesn't like that solution. What does he like? We don't know.

GOP invents a Social Security crisis out of whole cloth. The purpose is quite obvious, to drive regular citizens into poverty.

Senate Majority Leader McConnell is completely wrong to say that it's te election of a Republican Senate that has improved the economy, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see people picking up on this and claiming that it's true.

So how did the good guys do on convincing Americans that torture is a bad things and shouldn't be tolerated by civilized people under any circumstances? Erm, uh, well, we got the %$#@ kicked out of us, actually. Only 20% of Americans believe that torture shouldn't be engaged in at all. 80% are okay with it under some circumstances.

The blogger here makes a strong case that the similarities between J. Bush and H. Clinton are overblown. Also, In 1994, J. Bush wrote, “We have enough special categories, enough victims, without creating even more,” Bush added, “[Should] sodomy be elevated to the same constitutional status as race and religion? My answer is No.”
What's the difference between then and now? None as far as substance goes, he just wants people to think he's adopted a different tone. And hmm, yeah, I have to agree. I think J. Bush's name for his new PAC, “Right To Rise” reminds me more of the undead scrabbling out of their tombs than anything else.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT): "Let’s be clear: the TPP is much more than a 'free trade' agreement. It is part of a global race to the bottom to boost the profits of large corporations and Wall Street by outsourcing jobs."

Rush Limbaugh criticizes the idea of a black man playing James Bond. Then says on his radio show:: "My audience is tired of me being called a racist." Gee, Rush, I kinda think there's a pretty simple solution to that particular problem.

Good! This puts renewed pressure to convene a new Grand Jury! Officer Darren Wilson's verdict of innocent needs to be tossed out and a new grand Jury empaneled. Also, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch may lose his license to practice law.

Former KKK leader David Duke threatens to expose other Congressional sympathizers with the KKK after Steve Scalise case becomes burden on Republicans. Fine by me! Expose 'em all!

Yeah, this is a really stupid quote. Jim Cramer says that when people getwealthy enoug, they'll share the wealth. The problem is that "spill-over" simply doesn't occur. No one ever says “We have so much money, we may as well share the wealth.” As Pope Francis pointed out about “trickle-down economics”: "There was the promise that once the glass had become full it would overflow and the poor would benefit. But what happens is that when it's full to the brim, the glass magically grows, and thus nothing ever comes out for the poor.” .

Roman Catholic Bishops go about trying to ban “tying your tubes,” a form of birth control that can be done right after giving birth, something frequently done by both men and women in their thirties and forties where they just say “Okay, we've had enough children.” By making the procedure much more difficult to get, the bishops show once again they are stuck in a Medieval mindset>, they're not just nostalgic for the 1950s, they look back with fondness to the 1250s.

Many people have argued for many decades that increasing economic misery will push people to adot better economic models. Paul Krugman points out that people can also adopt facism and other authoritarian solutions.

Couple of Westerners have made the news by going to the Middle East and joining up with ISIS. Piece here says "Hey guys! If you're looking for adventure, it's just as easy to join the other side and to be in with anti-ISIS forces!" Plus which, you can put it on your resume without fear of fellow Westerners not liking you.

Now, when anybody tries to tell you what the priorities of the Republican Party are, Mitch McConnell, the head of the Senate Republicans, decided that his first, most urgent, most important of all of the priorities on his agenda, is to repeal the $5,200 limit on campaign donations. Keep that in mind during the 2016 campaign. This is what Republicans really care about.

Hmm, so "Anarchy in NY," due to the police protests against Mayor de Blasio, but, erm, poorer residents are financially benefiting from the non-enforcement of low-level laws. Not quite the effect that insubordinate police were looking for! (As a vet, I have very little sympathy for open displays of insubordination).

As with Kansas, projections made by Arizona that tax cuts would lead to balanced budgets proved to be illusory> but that won't stop the Republican Senate from forcing the CBO to accept "dynamic scoring" as a means of calculating the future impact of legislative proposals (A theory that holds that tax cuts magically result in savings even though cases like KS and AZ show such savings to be fantasy). But hey, let's celebrate illusory future savings and demonstrate Republican values in action by giving bonuses to staff members!

World religious leaders gather to declare that modern-day slavery is a crime.

Mario Cuomo, former three-term Governor of New York, passed away today (Jan 1st). He represented Democratic values well. Think Progress produces a short, quickie list of good, progressive policies that the late Governor Cuomo supported.

Tch, tch, tch! Neil deGrasse Tyson upsets religious people with his holiday tweets.

Always fun to go back over past predictions of horrors and disasters that were supposed to have occurred by now. Keep these in mind when you hear conservatives proclaiming that "(xxx) will turn out disastrously, just you mark my words! We'll all regret allowing (xxx) to occur, I tell you! You liberals will all be sorry!"

The head of Philadelphia's Fraternal Order of Police makes a plea (Third LTE down, "Facing daily danger, grave risk as officers") to think of the police when reviewing the many, many cases of police killing unarmed black men. Hmm, come to think of it, he doesn't address the all-too-frequent killing of unarmed black men at all, he keeps his LTE entirely one-sided and asks us to consider ONLY the police side of the question. And my response.